I don’t know if you’re a baseball fan or not, or if you cared about the Rockies vs/ Phillies in last night’s game, but I was feeling the energy, the thrill and the final defeat for “my” Colorado Rockies. We as observers and fans invest tons of emotional energy on our sports teams or players; it’s what makes sports so enticing, not to mention pricey.
We were behind early in the game, then we were tied, then wow, we raced ahead by two runs. It was closing time and the Rockies looked a cheer away of keeping the dream alive for yet another game in the play-offs. The relief pitcher for the Rockies, Huston Street – how can you dislike someone with such a cool name? – took over in the 8th inning. In the 9th every hope of victory looked like disappearing ink; sad, but real. Street had his melt down. When he was replaced you could see it in his body language – his face read like today’s eight-page sports section – rejection and loss riddled all over his stance.
All of Street’s team members were counting on him. The expectations were higher than our mountains, and he couldn’t manage to reach even the first hill top. Why? Who knows. He was “this close” to victory. It’s history now and most likely soon to be forgotten by a majority of his fan base, but not by his team.
I’ve had at least one or two melt downs in my professional career. And you?
When melt downs happen, we worry about the future since we basically screwed up the present. Emotions and expectations can take over some people’s forward motion; we freeze, argue with ourselves, talk too loudly to ourselves and fast-forward disappointment. My melt downs haven’t been in front of 50,000 cheering fans, much less live on television with millions of viewers, they were just with co-workers. That was enough for me. I’ve forgotten most of them, but I remember the pain of disappointment; it lingers longer than the act.
Dignity, resignation and courage all present themselves after the fact. When we face up to our melt downs in a dignified manner, resign ourselves to making the future brighter, and have the courage to admit we’re human, then tomorrow’s a brighter day. Thank you Scarlett O’Hara!
I’ve watched professionals in both sports and corporate America make a melt down a great lesson for all of us, and I’ve watched others not only diminish their mistakes, but also make bigger fools of themselves. Haven’t you? How do you react when you screw up? Do you admit it, retain your dignity and learn from it, or cower in the corner and hope no one notices?
Own up to your mistakes and the world forgives you. Run, hide or lie and the world treats you as you deserve: a coward. Admiration takes on several roles from those of us who follow and lead. We can admire someone for his/her accomplishments as well as his/her burdens and successes.
The next time you have a melt down, understand that you’re human – everyone has them. How you rise to the occasion is how you will be remembered.
Huston Street felt and will feel his own disappointment louder and longer than his teammates’. He also set a high standard for a professional sportsman: dignity, resignation and courage. He’s holding his head up high and showing the world his true character. He now has one more adoring fan: me.
Remember: This coming Monday the 19, I start my four-part writing webinar series. Join us!