I became obsessed with the NCAA tournament this weekend. Specifically the 538.com statistical predictions website and the live reactions on Twitter. In most cases, I was not even watching the games but watching how the dialogue on social media and winning percentages were changing based on the games being played. I didn’t always like what I saw. Complaints about the referees, highlights and GIFs of mistakes, the passive and overt insults, and a ton of hate from the vanquished foe towards the team that beat them. I found much of it in distaste. And yet I found myself falling into that trap.
Both of the games that Gonzaga played this past weekend were close and created some higher blood pressure and extra stress. I found myself in many moments pacing as well as thinking negative things about the refs, the players, coaches, commentators, idiots online, and anyone in the immediate area that I was occupying (Laura). Sorry sweetheart. Yet with perspective, this is not who I want to be, nor who I think I am. But I let the high-stress situation get the best of me.
I don’t want to be a bad sport. To have bad sportsmanship to me is reprehensible. I hate blaming something else for my team’s failure. In sports, that could be the referees, the other team cheating or Bill Belichick. At work, it is my client’s fault, my coworker’s fault, my boss’ fault, the competition’s fault or a million other things that are outside of our control. Great sports teams and great work teams find ways to fight through adversary presented to them. They take a loss or an unexpected twist as a way to figure out what to do better next time.
I grabbed Sloan and went for a walk, got my thoughts together, lowered my stress and turned off the noise. Twenty minutes later as we were strolling through Boulder, Colorado in 70+ degree weather I realized that those negative voices were not the problem. I was. I can choose how I respond to the stress of a close game. I want to be great in high stress situations. I can teach myself to be different.