What the Patriots Have Taught Me

Sports analysts always get my attention in the beginning of the football season because usually after the first or second game, they are predicting how the rest of the season will go with whichever team they’re discussing.

This year, for the Patriots, after the first game, which they had lost, the sports analysts unanimously decided that the season was over and that this was not going to be their year.  They were done.  These sentiments came from those whose job it is to organize and analyze data to make judgements as to which teams are likely to move forward and those who will not be as successful.

But here we are, on Superbowl Sunday, celebrating the fact that the Patriots really beat the odds.  However, they are not favored to win.  But if the analysts were this wrong at such an early stage in the game, what does that say about them?

Now, if we translate this to other jobs in other areas of life, and of course I’m going to use teaching as my example, we find that the shotgun opinions based on very little data would come and bite us in the tushy.  If I did that with a student, and saw that they bombed their first or second test or quiz of the year, then my feelings toward it are not, “Oh this child is certainly going to fail my class for the rest of the year…”  Instead what I, and many of my talented colleagues do, is figure out the interventions necessary in order to make this child succeed to the best of their ability.  And I’m sure this is the case for so many other professions out there that have any type of job review.

It’s rare that we take such a small sampling of data and decide upon that specific example the outcome of success.

Because when we do that, it’s almost as if we lost faith in humanity and in ourselves and each other.  It’s as if we don’t trust anything beyond this one piece of information that this is the end-all-be-all.  We paint situations in black and white, forgetting that there is a whole section of grey.  There are so many ways to approach a situation, and sometimes that one lost game, that one failed quiz, that one poor observation could be the outlier.  Maybe that particular day that child or person was distracted by life’s many complications.

So when we judge others based on one particular situation, it is really an oversight in understanding the whole picture.  The whole picture for the Patriots was not based on that second game this year.  The whole picture is not based on one test.  The whole picture is not based on one observation.

The whole picture is based on a lifetime of games, tests, observations, moments, struggles, and successes.

We’ve all had days where we were our own outliers, struggling with our own inner sports analysts.  We’ve all had days where we had outbursts, tears, anxiety, miscommunications, misunderstandings, anger.  But do those days determine who we are for the rest of our career?  Our season?  Our lives?  Absolutely not.  It just determines that that one day, we were a little off.

We are human.  We are allowed.  It’s okay.

But for others who judge us, analyze us, and make decisions that affect our situations, should take a step back and use more of the information and look at the whole picture, the whole player, the whole team, the whole child, the whole person, and then make a decision as to whether or not this is a failed situation.

Most situations are not failed as long as the parties involved are willing to try and make an effort toward a common goal.  I’m sure this information applies to everyone in some area of their life, as I know it does mine.

So today as you watch the game and analyze Brady’s performance or Wilson’s performance, and say, “That was a great throw!” or “What was he thinking???!!!”, don’t judge him based on that one play.  Look at them as a whole person, as part of a team.  Because we aren’t just one day, one moment; we are a series of so many moments, good and bad.  But again, if we’re not all working toward the common goal, then we are standing alone.  And unfortunately we are more liable to be judged or do do the judging.

The Patriots made it to the Superbowl.  And they proved a whole lot of people wrong.  Isn’t that the greatest thing, that when we prove the majority wrong (even though they don’t truly matter in our own self-worth), we prove to ourselves that we have what it takes to move forward.  Isn’t that the common goal we are all working toward?

Enjoy your Superbowl Sunday, and GO PATS!

That's right!

That’s right!


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