"Do now, do now, what you will wish to have done when your moment comes to die." [St. Angela Merici]

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Pass-Fail Heard ‘round the World

By Micky Wolf
Well, maybe mostly throughout the fifty states.

Nonetheless, for those of us who occasionally watch an NFL game or the Super Bowl, there was little doubt thousands upon thousands of fans and more than a few sports commentators were left howling in dismay and scratching their heads with the final play of this year’s extravaganza.

Why, coach? Why?

It made no sense, even to those of us least aware of the finer aspects of play selection strategy.

The resulting interception ensured a loss for the team that had just marched down the field by completing some of the most graceful and astonishing moves ever executed by any professional athlete. Adding salt to the wound—they were in the midst of three opportunities to move the ball little more than a single yard and score the winning touchdown.

My beloved and I are far from being qualified to determine the wisdom of the pass play called by no less than the head coach, however, at least one insight became clear as we sat and watched, stunned into total silence.

Mistakes happen. Making a poor choice is not the sole purview of the infamous or famous, the educated or not. The rich or the poor. Young, old, black, white, male or female. Sometimes the consequences of these less than good choices result in our making a mess in a pretty spectacular way, in this case in front of 150 million plus viewers. Hopefully, our ‘audiences’ are a bit smaller.

I can’t even imagine how coaches and players felt after that game. Their locker room must have resembled something akin to listening to one’s breathing while sitting vigil in a mausoleum. At the same time, most people—including those who experienced this experience—fully understand that winning or losing a football game is not to be confused with living the harsh reality of a dangerous or unhealthy life that is the lot of too many people in this world.

What then, can we can take away from this super event?

What happened next, after they left the field, will show the true mettle of the men involved. 

How will they deal with their loss? What will that choice be? Find someone to blame? Yell at the wife or kids?

Or, will they share the deep sting of the loss as a team, determining to support and encourage one another through what may seem the worst kind of mistake and failure they will ever know as far as their sports careers are concerned?

It has often been stated that it is the getting up again—and again and again, if necessary—and  continuing on our journey that can be the most painful, difficult, and challenging. And yet, how often can you and I find consolation in the fact that it was in the persevering that we discovered the greatest truth about our hearts, our hopes, our dreams.

We may need to sit on the sidelines for a time and catch our breath.

We may benefit immensely from the kindness and compassion of another to extend a hand, pull us up and dust us off.

We may weep silently into the hands we cover over our faces.

We may kick aside the stone on the path, fling a few epithets into the nothingness of our aloneness.

But, in the end, it is choosing to have a teachable spirit, forgiving others and ourselves, and getting off our duff that will make all the difference. The difference between staying put and living day-to-day from the sideline bench, or plunging in, committed to fully engaging our body, mind, soul and emotions with the one life God has chosen to give us.

How do I feel when I make a mistake?

What happens when the consequences of my choice are less than positive?

How open am I to learning from the experience? 

Taking responsibility for my part, especially when things don’t work out?


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