I've never been one to heckle, it's just not in my blood. In fact, I get massively embarrassed just being around hecklers.
This past weekend, I went to a Seattle Mariners baseball game (They played the Texas Rangers...and lost). Yes, they might not have the best record, but the games are still a blast and I try to make at least 4-5 games a year.
Someone on the executive team for the Mariners thought it would be a brilliant idea to place the away team's bullpen in the beer garden. This, of course, breed for the worst and meanest hecklers.
I heard it all. Heckles about how a guy's 90-year-old grandma could throw better than him. And how the tennis balls on his walker moved faster than that baseball (yes, several were about being elderly and these of course were the mild heckles). One person even heckled about a guy's, er, promiscuity.
All of the pitchers warming up handled these hecklers in a stoic fashion, never letting on that the home crowd was getting to them. One pitcher, Darren Oliver, truly took advantage of the situation.
What's that age-old idiom? Oh, yes. Kill them with kindness.
That's exactly what Oliver did. He killed the entire crowd with kindness. After finishing his warm-up, Oliver walked over to one fan, handed him the ball he was pitching with, and with the most sincere voice said "That was a new one I hadn't heard before. Thanks for making me laugh."
(Unfortunately, I didn't hear the exact heckle that won the ball...)
The crowd was absolutely astonished and instantly began cheering for him. I've never seen anything like it. He turned an entire crowd that was heckling at him into a crowd that loved him just by killing one guy with kindness.
Yes, this may be baseball, but we all have our own hecklers in life. It's just a good reminder that killing them with kindness can completely make the difference in your interaction.