Is it possible to prepare for the worst? Someone once told me that we worry because we think our worries will get us ready in case the worst happens. That has never worked for me, and I have come to realize that worrying is taking away time from what I should be doing.
The San Diego Chargers lost their playoff game on Sunday. I know their loss isn’t the worst thing that could happen. However, it got me thinking about their game day preparations and all the talk about how penalty free and professional they played during most of the regular season. Some of the players behaved poorly during the stress of the playoff game, and the team was penalized. Did the pressure cooker of a single elimination game reveal their true characters?
I wish I could say only my best character traits rise to the surface when I am in a stressful or worst case situation. But isn’t that what the regular season is for? To give me the time and opportunity to develop good foundational character qualities that will emerge when I am rubbed raw?
When we hiked Mt. Whitney, I injured my right foot on the way down. We were hurrying to get to the burger shack before it closed and I rolled my ankle twice. The first time stung, the second time, I couldn’t get up, and I collapsed in tears. I was exhausted – we had already traversed 20 miles since 5 a.m., it was getting close to dark and we had two more miles to go. I am not proud of what I said.
My daughter very calmly wrapped my ankle and foot with the bandage we had brought for just such an occasion, and helped me hobble the rest of the trail.
LaDainian Tomlinson, the Chargers running back, was booed by the fans on Sunday. He is a star player, has broken many records and is on his way to the hall of fame. Most important, he is a man of good character. He has said he is more interested in making a difference off the field than on the field. After Sunday’s game, LT was quoted as saying he didn’t take the fans’ boos personally. He knew they were frustrated with the team’s performance, and he just happened to experience their anger.
Now that’s a response even a disappointed Charger fan like me can celebrate and hope to emulate in my own worst- case scenarios.