A few weeks ago I sat on my couch, with my boys, watching as the Chicago Bears let the NFC North Division Championship slip away. At one point my youngest turned to me and said “Dad, you can swear if you want to…” I have been working on my swearing in front of the boys and I opted not to take the out my son had offered. It was a good thing because he immediately followed up with “can I swear if I want to?” I told him no and we continued to watch. As the game concluded my boys began throwing pillows and venting their frustration.
As a seasoned veteran of watching teams I love lose (i.e. Chicago Cubs, Utah Jazz, Chicago Bears) I have learned to accept these defeats with what I like to think of as “quiet dignity and grace“. I calmed the boys down and we discussed what had happened. There is always next year I explained, but doing something stupid because we are angry, like hurting someone, breaking something, or just plain making a public ass of yourself over things that are out of our control creates a pathway to regret (and nowadays you might just end up in a viral youtube video)…
Sure it is funny now to watch the Alabama fan donkey kicking at the Oklahoma fans, but did it change anything? Will she feel any better any time she sees the video replayed? And… What if something much worse had happened what if someone really got hurt. Fast forward a few weeks to a movie theater in Florida where frustration over texting results in devastating consequences for two families because two grown men didn’t keep their anger and frustration in check. Folks it is just a game, a movie, a something else relatively insignificant… It is not worth the long-term repercussions that can result from an angry loss of control.
I am trying to teach my kids that when they feel angry that it is OK to remove themselves from the environment that is causing them to be angry. Stop watching the game, leave the theater, go read a book in your room… whatever it takes find a way to cool down. Because here is the truth, your team will lose sometime, people won’t always obey the rules, there won’t always be someone to enforce the rules; and that will feel unfair.
It is unfair… and that ladies & gentlemen is life.