10 Steps to Finding Your Happy Place (and Staying There) is a program to help us develop habits to grow a joyful spirit. Many of us sabotage our happiness by habits that we might not even be aware of. Identifying and changing these habits can build a reservoir of well-being to enhance our happy times and sustain us during challenging times.
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Playing the Hand You're Dealt
Let all things be exactly as they are. –A Course in Miracles
There is currently a big brouhaha in American football over the referees. Referees in any sport are subject to criticism and must have thick skins to do their jobs. But the referees who are now officiating NFL games are replacements for the regular refs who are locked out during a labor dispute. The new refs have walked into a firestorm.
The replacement refs are drawn from the ranks of retired officials, college refs, and refs from other leagues. They have come under heavy criticism, to put it mildly, in the first weeks of the season as they scramble to get up to speed, learning new rules and applying them in the midst of fast paced games in front of tens of thousands of spectators and millions more watching on TV.
Last night the furor peaked over a call in the last seconds of Monday Night Football. With the game hanging on the last play, the quarterback threw the ball into the end zone as players for both teams reached for it and fell to the ground in a heap of arms and legs furiously fighting for the ball. Two officials ran up to the scrum. One official signaled a winning touchdown; the other signaled a losing interception.
Not a good situation to be in. A decision had to be made, and the touchdown was announced. The Internet and TV commentators have been in an uproar ever since.
Although I have an opinion, I’m not here to debate the correctness of that decision, or any other decision the refs have made this season. Like other fans, I have felt frustration and dismay over calls made and not made. But more than anything, I have felt tremendous compassion for these people, thrown into a situation they did not seek out, unprepared for the responsibility thrust upon them, struggling to do their best in front of millions, vilified by millions more.
Have you ever had a nightmare about being called upon to do something you are not prepared to do? I’ve dreamed that I have to take an exam for a class I didn’t know I was signed up for. Oh, yeah, and those dreams where we show up in public naked or otherwise dressed inappropriately. These refs are living that nightmare.
I don’t even have to look to my dreams. I have been in real life situations where I was in over my head. I’m thinking back now to when I was a young lawyer tagging along with more experienced lawyers to handle a negotiation for a multi-million dollar transaction. My job was pretty much to watch and learn. However, at one point in a meeting, I misunderstood something that was said to me and proceeded to do something so embarrassing (in a professional sense–I still had all my clothes on!) that I still cringe to think of it. To the other lawyers’ credit, they did not subject me to the sort of reprobation heaped upon these replacement refs. In fact, they quickly corrected my mistake and moved on with no comment.
It happens. Tony Dungy, a former Super Bowl winning coach and now a commentator, observed that while it is true that mistakes are being made by the replacement refs, nevertheless coaches and players must go ahead and play the game. You play the hand you’re dealt. You don’t blame the refs. Or the weather. Or the injuries. Or the alignment of the planets. You do your best with what you’ve got.
There are lots of folks screaming for the return of the regular refs. There are probably a few replacement refs wishing the same thing. At the least, I’m guessing those replacement refs wish they had had more time to get prepared. They probably wish they had had more NFL experience before having the whole country scrutinizing their every move.
We expend a lot of energy sometimes wanting things to be other than what they are. I’m still looking for more than 24 hours in a day, for example. And I’m really really wishing I had the old Blogger interface back. But there is wisdom in Tony Dungy’s words. We can rant all we want, but in the end we are left to play the hand we’re dealt.
Have you ever found yourself in over your head, needing to perform with inadequate preparation or experience? (If you are a parent, the answer is definitely yes!) What helped you get through it? Or perhaps you were on the other side, with more experience but having to deal with folks who were not up to speed. How did you handle that?
I hope you will share your own experiences.
related post: Bloom Where You’re Planted
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Such a great reflection here, Galen. We can be so quick to criticize others without examining ourselves or the situation first. These poor refs are really getting the short end of the stick here.ReplyDelete
And, I'm with you - we need to deal with the hand we're dealt. When I'm feeling out of my league, I always turn to God in prayer.
Blessings and thanks for a wonderful post!
Martha, Always a good solution. Thanks for commenting.Delete
I have been there done that. I feel bad taht they have to be in that position all in a live broadcast.ReplyDelete
Bonnie, So true. I have made many mistakes that I would hate to see on national TV! Thanks for commenting.Delete
Right on! Outstanding post!ReplyDelete
PS Bob, I don't see a link on your profile page back to your blog. Do you have one? Please send me a link if you do.Delete
my husband tells our kids..I do not want to hear problems, just solutions. after hearing it for so many yes, the kids do not complain about what life throws at them..they know they are only responsible for a 100% effort..God is responsible for the result.ReplyDelete
Annmarie, 100% effort and let go of attachment to the outcome--great advice! Thanks for your comment.Delete
Amazing post, Galen. Been over my head often sometimes because I wasn't prepared, sometimes because I was but someone else wasn't and sometimes because I thought I was and was sorely mistaken. I'd like to think that with age, I can determine how deep the water is by looking at it rather than always jumping in!ReplyDelete
Kathy, I've been in all of those situations, too. Age helps, definitely. Thanks for commenting.Delete
Not having a sports gene myself, I have no skin in the game, but it was interesting to ask my boss, who was there in person. He's a very ethical person and a good doctor, but he was willing to accept victory for the home team, the Seahawks, even though it was on a bad ref call, which the video makes obvious. Tribes protect their own. We are still animals, despite having the potential to evolve.ReplyDelete
Mikey, Packer fans would have done the same, no doubt. Having watched NFL games in that stadium twice, I can't imagine what the noise level was like yesterday. Thanks for your comment.Delete
Happens with all of us Galen!ReplyDelete
Being a parent I can of course say YES! With kids it becomes tough, as you already know being a wonderful Mom yourself. I guess one can never really fit into their picture of a perfect parent, and somewhere or the other we find ourselves over in our heads.
Similarly, when I was teaching a few years back and there was something that I didn't have a solution for, especially when one of the kids asked a tricky question. I just had to say that I will get back with you with the right answer after a day. It happens because no one is really perfect, nor do we have all the solutions every time.
Thanks for sharing :)
Harleena, Yes, being a parent will quickly put you in over your head and unprepared! As a teacher, like you, I sometimes had to say honestly that I didn't know something and we found the answers together. Thanks for commenting.Delete
Excellent post, and strongly encouraging too. I'm not a big fan of sports, unless my children or grandchildren are playing (silly me right) but gee how can we not know about this, the story is everywhere. But even not being really even slightly interested in their game, I really think that what ever call was made, we as a kind people :) should stand by what they ruled it, and respect that call, even if perhaps it wasn't done by the real Ref-pros(well get them back there!)ReplyDelete
Karen, I know not everyone likes sports, and of course outside the US, American football is unknown or unimportant. But beyond interest or lack thereof in the game itself, this ref controversy and Tony Dungy's words seemed relevant to my own life, so I thought I would share some reflections. You are right that we all need to accept the calls made, mistaken or not, and get on with the game of life! Thanks for commenting.Delete
Absolutely, isn't ironic sometimes how some things going on in the world are so relevant to our own lives. I'm happy they are getting things back to normal for them. Sometimes for us it's not always so easy! I always enjoy your posts, because they always seem to hit home for me, even days after...have a wonderful weekend, we're going to have an Indian Summer weekend I think!Delete
I have been over my head a lot of times, but my mistakes weren't as costly as the one made by the refs on Monday night. I think people are less apt to forgive when the stakes are so high. Unfortunately, we hang a price tag on everything.
Suzanne, So true about the stakes. Sometimes the stakes are much higher than the outcome of a game, even a Monday Night Football game. It's harder to forgive then, harder not to dwell on other outcomes. But, as A Course in Miracles teaches, the only wholly true thought we can hold about the past is that it is not here. Today is a new day and a fresh start. Thanks for your comment.Delete
Not having a competitive bone in my body I really can't believe how much coverage sports get...and I can't help but say it...they are all acting like a bunch of spoiled babies!..the players and coaches I mean. To me sports is just another big business now...good post though..as always.ReplyDelete
I'm sure many folks agree with you! I do love to watch football, but like you, I sometimes feel dismay at the things that become such huge issues. Ask anyone living with hunger or war or other dire circumstances how important a wrong call in a game is. Thanks for commenting.Delete
i can't get too worked up about football or sports in general Galen, but the more important point of your post, to me, is about managing the effects we're currently experiencing. Pushing against them won't get them to go away, they just become magnified. So I say manage where we are whilst focusing on what we really want.ReplyDelete
It's amazing how a little focus on the best we can imagine pretty soon ends up as our life experience, while the other stuff fades away for lack of attention.
Elle, I wasn't always a football fan, but in recent years I've come to love watching it. But you are right--that is not really the point of the post. The ref controversy reflects to me the broader issues of being in over our heads and also being judgmental of others who are. Thanks for your comment.Delete
Galen, I'm so glad you gave a thumbnail sketch of the whole situation! I have been seeing the outrage on my FB page, but not enough details were shared in the ranting for me to figure out what happened. On one hand, I shake my head, because it's a GAME, people! On the other hand, had it been my hometown college football team (University of TN) that this happened to, I am fairly certain I'd have a level of outrage over it. That being said, now that I understand what is going on from your post, I feel a large amount of compassion for the people who have stepped into this fire pit.ReplyDelete
On a personal level, yes, I've been thrown into similar fires and have done well, but I've also crashed and burned. I've learned from both experiences. The sky doesn't fall and the world doesn't end from botches calls in football games. Nor do we perish when we make a personal snafu. It's to be hoped that we grow, regardless.
Great post, sweetie! I love visiting your world. :)
Dawn, UT? Are you from Knoxville? I'm from Memphis! (We've probably had this conversation, but I forgot.) Good perspective on the importance of some of our mistakes. Most do not have the dire consequences we anticipate. Thanks for visiting--always love to see you here.Delete
As I was reading your post, I recall taking my Mum for what we thought was a routine medical check-up. She gets on the treadmill and suddenly alarms went off. The doctor told me that this was an emergency - she had to be admitted immediately for an angiogram. This was in 1994 - when I was new to stuff like this. Suddenly, I was called to take a decision - and yet, there was none to be taken. It got worse - before it got better. She and I survived. :)ReplyDelete
Corinne, That is the sort of getting thrown in over your head that really matters! Glad this one had a good ending. Thanks for sharing your story.Delete
I've been in over my head many times. Sometimes I discovered that I could do more than I thought I could, and it ended up being a valuable experience.ReplyDelete
I agree that too much focus on how we want things to be different takes us out of the present moment (not that I'm very successful at staying in the present moment).
Thank you for a great post!
Tina, It's true that sometimes we rise to the occasion and surprise ourselves with what we can handle or accomplish. It gives us faith in ourselves that the next time we find ourselves in that situation, it will be all right. Thanks for commenting.Delete
Great post Galen. yes we do have to play the hand we are dealt. The only problem that i have is as a parent I wish that i had had an instint replay, so I could have changed the call sometimes. You, know on those OOPS wish i hadn't said or done that that way.ReplyDelete
Anyway another great article from you and thanks for putting things in perspective.
Debbie, I hear you! Oh I would love to have a few do overs! Probably more than a few. Thanks for your comment.Delete
I always jump in over my head. That's what makes life exciting.ReplyDelete
JJ, I knew that about you as soon as I saw the tiger character you had on your blog for awhile. Thanks for your comment.Delete
Wow, this is wonderful! I too had an opinion about the football thing. Being called on to do what we are not prepared to do but pressured to do it anyway can be a nightmare. I have failed on many occasion because I could not convince the person asking that I was not prepared or simply didn't feel called to do what they asked.ReplyDelete
I wondered: How much pressure was put on the replacement refs to do the job? Or did they do it for the money or out of false pride? Perhaps they weren't dealt the hand so much as they picked the wrong cards when they searched through the deck. Or maybe they underestimated the difficulty of the task at hand.
It is for sure that we are beginning to understand that like a missed field goal, the thousand things that happen during any game are the determining factor and usually not one bad call. However, in that particular case a lot is riding on their decision. Sometimes it is just one thing!
In the end though, we don't get to pick our referees and we just have to take what is given us. The analogy is perfect!
Barbara, I had not thought about that. I'm sure no one forced these refs to step in. I'm guessing that different folks were motivated by different things. And you are also right that one bad call has to be taken in context. If the game was not so close, it would not have mattered so much. Thanks for your added perspective.Delete
Hi Galen.....been a while since I've been here....another great post though!! The term playing with the hand you are dealt is a tough call for many of us. I know it was difficult for me for a very long time,...and often, still is. However, I agree with you that when you "love" WHAT IS.....you are making great strides towards becoming much more healthy emotionally....well...maybe not "loving"....but certainly coming to terms with what comes your way.ReplyDelete
Life does become much easier when you live with this mind set.
Jo, Always glad to see you! This was tough for me, too, for many years, especially about my son's autism. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.Delete
The things folks seem to overlook is that the refs are bad for both teams...equally. The playing field is level..maybe poorly leveled, but still level. Those who are upset need to accept what the reality is and move on.ReplyDelete
Experience is great teacher, but so is acceptance. There is an important difference between doing your best and being the best. Few of us can be the best in something, but all of us can do our best. That is how the world works. These refs deserve thanks for accepting a thankless job, not condemnation.
BTW, I was screaming in joy as the AZ Cardinals knocked the Eagles flat. I like the refs!
Ha! My Titans arguably benefited from a bad call, so I like them, too! You are right that bad calls have been made on both sides, and it is the loser who complains. I really like your distinction between doing our best and being the best. I'm going to remember that one! Thanks for your comment.Delete
My goodness, I've been in over my head or out of my league SO often, nearly always in romantic relationships. Between my two marriages, I must have made every bad decision possible regarding who to date, have sex with, live with etc. I got MASSACRED!ReplyDelete
In this regard I believe the hand I was dealt was enormous gullibility, with an extra portion of cluelessness. But I gradually got my heart stomped on enough to pay attention and learn how to make better choices. Now it's pretty funny to look back on!
Mikey, You and me both! Except maybe the funny part. Still working on my sense of humor. Thanks for commenting.Delete
It is not fun to be in over your head. I have had many of these experiences. I guess the one thing I do is pray a lot and hope to have some instant inspiration. I do think we do need to deal with the hand we are dealt and like your other post; "Bloom Where You Are Planted". I have always loved that thought.ReplyDelete
Blessings to you and I loved this one!
LeAnn, No it isn't fun. Sometimes we can rise to the occasion, but sometimes it's just too much too fast and we crash and burn. Then we pick ourselves up and learn! Glad you liked this post and the other one. Thanks for commenting.Delete
I love making the most of what I have. I always jump in not being fully prepared and most of the time it works out. I am not afraid of if it doesn't since so much can be learned then, too. None of it matters, it is all just experience. I mean I am responsible, and accountable. And give people what they paid for, but there will always be those that complain. I embrace them, too. They are just me reflecting back!ReplyDelete
Jodi, I remember once being asked in an interview if I had a certain skill. I didn't at that moment, but I knew I could learn it fast. I answered that I would have that skill on my first day of work. I got hired and I did have it. So you are right--most of the time it works out, and when it doesn't, we can learn. Thanks for your comment.Delete
WOW! This helped me realize, that maybe I am too critical on these refs and we should show more compassion. I have been in over my head in many situations, in life. Our mistakes help us grow. It's a lot easier to learn, if we are shown compassion rather than being criticized. Thank you for sharing.ReplyDelete
Farfalla, Welcome! Our mistakes do help us grow, and interestingly, other people's mistakes can help us grow, too. Thanks for your comment.Delete
Before I got to the end of your post and read your question about being in over your head, I quickly thought about my role as a mother. Boy-o-boy was I not prepared, but thankful my mom was there to assist me. Many times we are way extended, but when I am I think - confidence lies ahead. This enables me to get through. Smart post. Cheers!!ReplyDelete
bobby, Yes, parenthood will definitely throw you into the deep end of the pool! Thanks for your comment.Delete