"Practice! We talkin 'bout practice?! Practice?" - Allen Iverson
I have a confession to make. On Saturday night, as the time winded down and our Denver team was about to lose to Loyola by a few goals, I lost my composure. I snapped at the refs, my players and my fellow coaches. I don't know what it was - a rough week, being overstressed, a game with huge implications for our team- but, there are no excuses. Basically, I took my anger and frustration out on other people, yelled and made an ass out of myself.
I could not sleep the whole night after the game because I was so disappointed in my behavior and how I had acted. Here I am writing about these lessons of having discipline and perspective and using sports to bring valuable gifts to young peoples' lives and then I am running around and acting like a maniac! (Somebody should nominate me to run for Congress!).
On Sunday morning though, I remembered a couple important things that allowed me to finally crawl out of bed and face the world.
The first realization I had was that we are all human and we make
mistakes. The second was that sports and life are a practice. So, we are
all constantly working to be our best and sometimes we hit a snag in
the road and trip up. It's up to us to use that slip-up as a wake up
call to improve in some way.
So, my current goal is to keep getting better at not taking my emotions out on others. One of my friends and mentors once wrote that to blame is to "be lame". In other words, when we blame someone else for how we are feeling, then we are acting lame and not taking responsibility for those feelings.
Next time I get angry or frustrated with a ref, I am going to just feel that anger until it dissipates and then talk to him later by why I was not happy with that call. Next time I get angry or frustrated with a player, I am going to feel that anger until it dissipates and then talk to him later about what I think he can work on to become a better player and athlete. Next time I get angry or frustrated with one of my fellow coaches, I am going to just feel that anger until it dissipates and then talk to him later about the disagreement that I had with him and try to find a resolution.
The problem when we direct our anger out towards others is that not only do we hurt those other people, we also hurt ourselves. We multiply the angry feelings and make it more widespread, rather than just resolving it within ourselves. At the end of the day, we end up having to ask for forgiveness from others and even more importantly, having to forgive ourselves.
To those of you who read my blog, I will tell you what I told my team. I am sorry that I behaved in a manner that is hypocritical to what I hope to promote through coaching and writing. Other coaches might act like that, but that is not me and not how I want to walk through this world. I will do better next time, I can promise you that.
Like all of us, I am not perfect but I am practicing.