There are many ways in which sports parallels life. I’m sure all of us can reference several of them off the top of our heads.
As the host of NFL Network’s “Up to the Minute” my primary focus as a sports journalist is football and covering the National Football League. But I want to switch gears for just a moment to not only talk about football but bring baseball into the conversation and look at what’s been going on in the MLB playoffs. You may or may not be a baseball fan, but if you’ve been watching the postseason, you’ve seen more than a few exciting things happen over the past couple of weeks. We’ve seen the tables turn and the post-season fortunes of a team change in an instant, specifically at the hands of a misplayed “routine” fly ball, an injury, or a botched call.
Just how “routine” is the routine fly ball? How routine is catching a pass or making a field goal in a game as time expires? For that matter, how routine is anything we do on a daily basis?
When you practice and perform these tasks time and time again and execute them in game situations, one would expect it should be pretty straight forward, right? Correct. But the fact is, it doesn’t always happen that way. Mistakes happen and they can be costly.
Nobody wants to or tries to make mistakes. At the pro level, one is expected to make “that” play. One is expected to make “that” catch. And the parallel for whatever your chosen profession is that you are expected to make those “routine” decisions and get them right. But that doesn’t always happen either.
So how do you recover when you fall short? How do you rebound when you “drop the ball?”
Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers dropped a fly ball at a pivotal moment in the final game of the season which sent the Oakland A’s to the playoffs and crowned them champions of the American League West. Then Coco Crisp of the A’s bobbled a ball in the American League Division Series against the Detroit Tigers. Steve Johnson of the Buffalo Bills dropped a touchdown pass in overtime a key game last season against the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2010. And this past Sunday, quarterback Carson Palmer of the Oakland Raiders threw a pick-6 interception against the Atlanta Falcons as his team was driving in the final minutes of the game, in hopes of upsetting a now 6-0 Atlanta Falcons squad.
What do all of these athletes have in common?
They all have the ability to bounce back and go on to the next play.
So as you engage in water cooler conversation this week around how your team did over the weekend, don’t take the routine play for granted. When you do botch the call, make the wrong decision, or drop the ball, at work or at home, pick yourself up and get back in the game. You too have the ability to bounce back and go on to the next play.
photo credit: Bobby Quillard