A lot of my Hot Pot posts can seem to take on a holier-than-thou tone because I tend to talk about playing the game the right way. I talk about chasing ideals, playing for the team rather than yourself, and I’ve laid out some pretty basic expectations in the past… but this past weekend I pretty much smashed my own recommendations on the ground and stomped on them until they looked like Charlie and Mac’s game pieces after a vicious round of Chardy McDennis.
Playing in New Orleans for the Mardi Gras Tourney, my NOLC squad found itself involved in a tight game with a good team from Austin, TX called the Capitals. We were down by 2 goals, but making a nice comeback, and hoping to garner our second win of the weekend. The game had been clean, and well reffed, and it was just fun, competitive lacrosse.
As the ball rolled back towards the midfield from our offensive end, I moved behind my attackman near the midfield line to throw a check so that he couldn’t pick up the ground ball. I threw the check, the ball snuck through us both, I turned to pick it up, and was summarily pushed in the back. I fell down, the ref blew the whistle and said, “push from behind! But offsides first. Capitals ball.”
I was never within 3 feet of midfield. Both of the other defenders were lower on the field than I was. Our team being offsides was a physical impossibility! I was flabbergasted, and lost my cool immediately. An F-bomb, a joke about wearing sunglasses, and some really unnecessary stuff was said/yelled by yours truly. I almost couldn’t stop myself.
My (younger) brother came over to me and said, “Seriously, Connor? You need to chill out.” And he was absolutely right. I took myself out of the game, took off my helmet, and started to feel shame. Halftime rolled around pretty quickly, and I immediately walked back out onto the field. I apologized the ref profusely, and he continued to be a class act by shrugging it off. This guy could have kicked me out of the game (and probably should have), but he didn’t. He could have told me off at the half, but he didn’t. He could have called more stuff against me as the game wore on, but he didn’t. He was a good ref, and I had been yelling at him for ONE supposed mistake.
Oh man, how far we all can fall!
I’m telling you this story because we ALL make mistakes. We ALL lose our cool from time to time. I may sit back and lecture most of the time, but trust me, it all comes from personal experience. The dumb stuff? I’ve done it. The mean stuff? Done that too. The divisive, think-you’re-God’s-gift stuff? Yup, that too.
The point is to make your best effort to be better. You may make mistakes (in fact, I can guarantee you will make mistakes), but as long as you don’t let those mistakes define you, and you work towards improvement, you can come back from almost anything.
Own up to the dumb stuff you do, apologize sincerely, and make a promise to yourself that you will be better. I’ll be treating refs with even more respect this Spring. What mistake are you going to work on?