After finishing high school, me and a couple of friends stayed at my father's place in Rickmansworth, about 27 km northwest of central London. Washing dishes in an Italian restaurant, I saved up money for an electric guitar. After coming back to Poland, a musician that I knew drove with me to Łomża to buy a used Telecaster. On our way back, he talked about a football game happening every weekend and invited me to come by.

Because it was only a five-minute walk from where I lived, I quickly became a regular, and then also the main organiser. It required quite some effort to keep the thing going. We needed between 12 and 21 people every week. And then there was a reservation to be made and money gathered. We had some ground rules too: if you said you'd come and didn't show up, you were banned for two weeks. And when we had 21 people on the list, we would close it.

One time, a close friend showed up late and unexpected with two more guys I didn't know. On the pitch, there were already more players warming up than I would have liked. I don't know if you ever tried to organise 20 footballers. Believe me, if you let them get into a discussion, you're not starting the game anytime soon.

That's why I told my friend and the two guys he had brought to pack up and leave. Not surprising, after coming all this way, they were quite upset. My friend didn't speak to me for a couple of days. But they left and we could start the game.

Clearly, I was only able to act for the good of the group because I had decided not to share the disappointment of those being told to leave. Understanding how someone feels is one thing, just like wishing them happiness. It's another to take it upon yourself to find a solution. How do you weigh the annoyance of 20 people who followed pre-agreed rules against the discontent of 3 unexpected guests?


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