I am new to PokerStars and have only recently returned to 'serious' poker play after many years. I began playing no-limit hold 'em with some friends and again caught 'the bug'. This despite the fact I had to learn the variances to NLHE, which was not a form I had played at all when I was younger.
   Online play seemed (and still does) to be the perfect way to hone my skills more quickly, with the added convenience of being able to play anytime I wanted. While I have no delusions of becoming a professional, I want to become the best I can.  I feel this way about everything I enjoy, and enjoyment will probably be a major theme in many ramblings I post!
   I have read about (and encountered) many of the 'shove monkeys', 'donks', etc. that people complain about on the site. I have dropped from 290th to 1800th in the PSO League over the last week, in part because of some of those encounters, though some bad play on my part was equally responsible. However, these players are just another variable within the game to deal with. I get as upset as almost anyone when I lose a hand to someone who made an 'incorrect' play. Much of winning in poker, however, has to do with your opponent making a bad play.  Some of these players may not have the ability or desire to understand the advanced concepts of poker (I know I don't understand them all!) and this can be maddening, especially in a venue that is designed to help players learn and improve. It may even be more irritating in a money game. And that is where many of us will, or want to, end up.
   I had a player at my table in a $2.20 NLHE tournament today who was worse than a 'donkey'. He was a slightly skilled player with no manners. A 'poor sport'. Down to 10 big blinds, I shoved in late position (first bettor) with JJ. In the big blind he called (he had me covered) with QQ. I ended up winning the hand with trips (or even quads,not sure now), which caused him to unleash a torrent of abuse. "Lucky", "****', etc.  I eventually asked if he knew how much he was favored by in the hand, as I was not playing 7,2 offsuit against Aces (though I'm sure some of you have taken a beating from a showdown almost as bad!). I was genuine in my question, because he had made no comments before that.  Poker is about applied luck, after all. I realized, as the invectives continued, that he thought I was being sarcastic. And sadly, I then started to be. I avoided facing off against him (as many of his, albeit infrequent, wins were on pushes or overbets) and tracked him when I was moved to another table. He snuck into the money around 300/2600 but I was ecstatic when he finally got knocked out and I was still alive! I ended up having what I considered a great tournament finishing in the top 130, but didn't realize at first that my performance was more important than beating a rude and immature player. I had become, for a short while, a poor sport.
   Everybody is different. One thing all of us here in the league have in common to some degree, I think, is an enjoyment of poker.  Many of the legal arguments about online poker vs lotteries, etc. is that poker is a sport. It involves skill. I agree with this argument and the presence of poor sports, I think, to some degree substantiates it. But I think it's to the benefit of the game if we try to be good sports. It may be to the benefit of the donks and shove monkeys as well. Nobody likes to be criticized and insulted. It's very easy to sit at home in front of a computer and say rude things to someone (and I've done it occasionally), but I'd like to think we would be more considerate in person. If it's easy, it's usually not worth doing.
   I have played with many very nice people in my short time here. 11scorpius11, who remembered me from a brief chat a dozen tourneys earlier, lockdown320,DOGFOODFUND,da_sarg, OZARK! (can't remember screen name,lol) and many others. I think it's good that I don't really remember the 'bad' players. But hopefully one day I will !