Sometimes…Life Beats You Up

by Lance Ekum on · 63 comments

Breaking the ice
Creative Commons License photo credit: marcelgermain

“Don’t be afraid of opposition. Remember, a kite rises against, not with the wind.” ~ Hamilton Wright Mabie

Have you ever felt like things just aren’t going your way?  Sometimes just moments.  Other times, maybe days.

And you have to somehow deal with these moments before your life can move on.

This too, shall pass.

Today, I’ll share a story from this past weekend.

A busy weekend, I knew it would be.  My first year as the director of the  basketball tournament for our girls basketball program.  A great team of people had been assembled to bring this all together.  And together, it had come.  After several months of preparation, the tournament was upon us.  This would involve two days of non-stop basketball for girls in 5th through 8th grade.  Sixty four teams.  Ninety six games.   Two days.

Everything was in place.  Saturday morning came, and besides some minor scheduling issues, the day began much like I had hoped.  We were off.  And day one continued along smoothly.  Sure, there were minor hiccups along the way.  Much like life, we can plan everything out, yet things come up.  And they did.  All minor, though.  Fifteen hours after the day had begun, we headed home – weary and exhausted, yet also filled with relief in a day done and successful.

Day two.  The younger grades playing – 5th and 6th grades.  Fifth grade would be first.  And once again, the day began with minor scheduling issues, with everything else going just as planned.  And I wandered between the four courts of basketball going on, I checked in with our volunteers, I met with our referees.  And then, there I was, meeting with our volunteer coordinator (my wife) when it happened.

A coach came rushing out of one of the gym doors.  By the look, it was obvious something was wrong.  He quickly approached me, and I could easily sense his tension rising.  The referee had ejected him from the game.  For raising his arms.  And girls were getting hurt on the floor.  (Note:  I’m not here to pass judgment on who was right or wrong in this case)

I quickly went into the gym.  The game was stopped.  Coaches from both teams were out on the floor.  The two referee’s were on the floor.  The whole situation felt volatile and laced with tension.  I approached the referee.  He was visibly upset.  I had already heard the coach’s side of the story.  Now I was privy to the referee’s side of the story.  Not all that different, the two stories were.  In fact, the only real difference was whether or not the girls getting hurt was inadvertent or whether it was the result of a foul.  And we have no instant replay…

And this all leads up to…

The referee asked me to address the crowd of the team who had two players leave the game because of injuries (and the team whose coach had been ejected).  My task:  explain the rules, as the referee had called them, so there was no question as to who was getting the ball, and why this had happened.  Being this was the parents to the team with the ejected coach, and because these parents were already upset with the officiating – the referee felt it best if I addressed the parents.  There was a group of maybe 30-40 people in the stands.  This shouldn’t be too bad, right?  Just explain the rules, and move on.


As I began to address the crowd, I quickly realized the emotional state of the whole crowd.  These were their kids out there.  And they all believed the game was getting out of control.  (I have no basis for whether it was or not)  As soon as I spoke to them – I was verbally “beaten up”.  Yelling.  Screaming.  Gnashing of teeth.  Finger pointing.  Looks of disgust.  I spent a couple of minutes attempting to both explain the rules, and to calm the crowd down (it seemed like an hour).  At which point, the game began again, and I licked my wounds and moved off to the side.  I had tried to remain calm, under control, and neutral throughout it all.  Did I?  I think so, although I don’t really know for sure, it all happened so fast.

I stayed to observe the rest of the game.  It all went off without problem.  After the game, I spoke with people from both sides – in a further attempt to assess what had occurred.

The point here being that sometimes you’re going to be thrust into situations that challenge you.   I was pulled into this game, not knowing what I was getting into.  And when I addressed the crowd of people, I also did not know what to expect.  And I was beaten up.  Verbally.  And the truth is, that’s going to happen in life.  Not every moment is going to be rosy.  There will be moments when life beats you up.  When, out of the blue, you’re thrust into a situation that challenges you at many levels.


How do you deal with those moments in your life when things aren’t exactly as you’d like them to be?   What do you do when some adverse situation presents itself?  Remember that you always have a choice.  You have the choice in how to respond.  How will you?

Lance writes stories from his heart, aiming to inspire and motivate, as you align more fully with YOUR true peak. When he's not here, you can find him hanging out with his family, riding a bike, or just generally acting goofy.   Sign up for the Thoughts from the Treehouse newsletter and get additional inspiration in your email inbox!
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{ 63 comments… read them below or add one }

Daphne February 19, 2009 at 7:44 am

Wow, Lance. You certainly had quite a weekend! Thank you so much for sharing this in such detail. I’m just glad I wasn’t in your shoes. It’s never nice to be verbally abused for something that isn’t your fault. Everyone was there as a volunteer and shouldn’t be made to feel awful for helping out.

It sounds like you coped splendidly by keeping your head on your shoulders and doing what you had to do. Can anyone ask for more? After reading this I’m even more gratified and humbled that you took the time to make contact… you really are an amazingly wonderful person.

Daphne´s last blog post..The WriteShots and The Quote Effect


Jewel/Pink Ink February 19, 2009 at 7:47 am

Drats, Lance, that’s too bad. I just posted about my oldest playing basketball. I can relate to how it can get “emotional” out there; but I’ve never seen it escalate that bad. Good luck to you and your program. You did your best and seemed to handle the situation well.

Jewel/Pink Ink´s last blog post..Love Letter


Evelyn Lim February 19, 2009 at 7:57 am

Lance, it seems like you have had a tough weekend. I am not sure if I would have survived and lived to tell the tale. It’s great that you stayed cool and did what you could do. You chose not to react but to respond wisely. Giving way to emotions would not have stood you well. Bravo!

Evelyn Lim´s last blog post..Raising Kids, Removing Fear


Andrea Hess|Empowered Soul February 19, 2009 at 8:03 am

When things don’t go my way, I remember that I am the creator of my experience, after all. I probably attracted the situation to point something out to myself. And sometimes we also manifest what we are most afraid of.

On Monday, I allowed myself to be seriously pushed out of my center by my ex. I just felt like he disrupted my life and my very busy week. Of course, no-one can create disruption in us unless we allow it! Wouldn’t you know it – the next day I taught a teleclass and there were so many disruptions on the line – people weren’t muting themselves, etc. It was such a mess it actually became funny, once I got over my embarrassment.

I just think there are two ways to look at life: We create ALL of it or we’re the hapless victims of circumstance. I think we can use life’s events to learn more about ourselves more thoroughly if we take ownership of everything that shows up in our lives.

So – that’s how I deal with adversity. I use it as information I’m trying to tell myself through my life experiences.



Jenny Mannion February 19, 2009 at 8:28 am

Hi Lance,
It sounds like you dealt with the situation quite well and that the first day and a half was a HUGE success. Please don’t forget to congratulate yourself for those points.

I am with Andrea, as when life seemingly throws me off track I seek to see WHY I am in the situation and what I can get out of it. I TRY to detach myself and become the observer while noticing the emotions it is bringing up in me.

Also, in a situation where emotions are high it is important to remind yourself it is not YOU that the people are upset with — it is the situation. I had a lot of guy friends in my teenage years and they were quick to point out to me “I took everything personally” because I didn’t have a sibling to “toughen me up”. 😉 I am still working through my sensitivities but have come a LONG way and try to recognize most of the time people react negatively around me it is NOT ME but the situation or their perceived observations of the event.

I think you did great Lance. I am sure you learned from the little scheduling conflicts and from the event as a whole and learning is NEVER a bad thing. You are such a nice guy and I am sure MANY more people appreciated all the work you put into the event than were upset. Celebrate your successes and use the conflicts as something to notice, make notes of, learn from and move on. 🙂

Thank you for sharing your story Lance. 🙂


Mark February 19, 2009 at 8:59 am

Hi Lance! Firstly…I think you handled the situation very well!These type of challenges seem to visit me fairly often….a constant barrage of obstacles seem to flow consistently.My take: While taking on the challenge(s) eventually it is inevitable that one forms a habitual, positive response to the obstacle (expanding ones comfort zone). We obviously cannot control other peoples action but we can put a positive stamp on a situation from our actions. A positive attitude is contagious!

Thanks Lance!


Dot February 19, 2009 at 9:08 am

Good job! Sorry they beat you up so bad with their response, but imagine if the person who had spoken had been the official who made the hated decision! Patricia of Patricia’s Wisdom has been blogging about her very interesting experiments with non-violent conflict resolution, which is something that she teaches. By non-violent, she’s referring to no violent emotions. I think you did a great job, and hope you enjoy the rest of the process much more.

Dot´s last blog post..OpenOffice Extensions


Ari Koinuma February 19, 2009 at 9:12 am


Wow, that sounds like an intense experience. I can feel the discomfort just reading your post.

That said, this is not about you, though, is it? It wouldn’t have matter who got up to speak to those parents, coaches and referees. If they got mad, it still wasn’t about you. It could have been the President of US and they would have still gotten mad and possibly verbally abusive.

The big question is, how do you feel about how you conducted yourself? Did you do anything out of your fear, or did you act from your inner conscience and do what you honestly thought was called for?

Everything else is really not within our control — at least, not directly. Law of Attraction people would say you attracted it, and it’s not for me to say you did or not (was there any voice in your mind going “something’s gotta go wrong, it can’t go this well?”). But the only part you can control is your own actions. That, you have to evaluate and reflect upon. For everything else, there’s no need for you to take personally — I realize it’s stressful and you do get affected — but you just need to purge them out of your system and move on.


Ari Koinuma´s last blog post..Disassociating Fear from Your Challenges


Wendi Kelly-Life's Little Inspirations February 19, 2009 at 9:13 am

Projecting a quiet calm into a situation like that is always great if you can manage it. Not always easy to do in the think of it though. it sounds like you handled it pretty well. The important thing to remember, and it sounds like you did, is that it wasn’t about you. They were just beating the messanger.
I hope your week is going better now.

Wendi Kelly-Life’s Little Inspirations´s last blog post..When the Sun Won’t Come Out


Tess The Bold Life February 19, 2009 at 9:25 am


Oh my! A sign of our competitive world! It’s amazing how CRAZY people get in sports. All four of my daughters played basketball. My daughter who was born without a right hand went on to play two years in college (it’s in the book)!

My husband played sports all through school and he is a tough competitor and always told my girls,”No blood no foul” while shooting hoops in the driveway. I would open the kitchen window when I heard the girls crying and tell him to “lighten up.” The girls didn’t want to be rescued by me. It was my fear of them getting hurt. This was in the late 80’s and early 90’s.

Today as I watch my grandkids it’s amazes me how much more competitive it all is and how much many parents are out of control. Everyone wants to win at all costs. (I just had an interesting conversation with my 12 year old grandson on professional athletes and steroids.)

Can you tell I didn’t play sports and I’m not competetive?!?

I guess my point is I think you were brave to do this and also generous with your time! You did the correct thing. One of my favorite quotes is “In my defenselessness my safety lies.” One can only be defenseless by remaining calm.

I had a terrible argument with my husband last week and couldn’t figure out why I behaved so cruelly. A couple of days later I thought of 2 big issues that were weighing on my mind and realized I just crumbled under the pressure. Of course I can apologize and did but I realized my problem was not taking enough silent time to deal with the 2 issues. If I had the argument would have never happened.

So Lance, you had it together and therefore you reacted in the proper manner. You remain an example to all. It’s why your cyperspace friends keep coming back! Have a nice relaxing weekend, you deserve it!

Tess The Bold Life´s last blog post..8 Ways to Magic Mondays


Stacey / Create a Balance February 19, 2009 at 9:36 am

Lance, I admire how you can turn a difficult experience into a life lesson. It inspires me (and others) to look for lessons to be learned in our darkest hours. My first challenge when I’m hit with adversity is managing my physical reactions. My heartbeat accelerates and my throat starts to close. This decreases my ability to respond.


Blake February 19, 2009 at 9:39 am

Man, that tourney sounds like some crazy March Madness a little early. Sounds like you handled it well. Yeah, sometimes I get frustrated when things aren’t going like I planned them to, but I have to realize (and my wife helps me to realize) that I can’t control everything. Thanks for the great words.

Blake´s last blog post..A Ridiculous Ticket and My Favorite Fruits and Veggies


Stacey Shipman February 19, 2009 at 9:57 am

Dealing with people is one of life’s biggest challenges, in my opinion. Sounds like you handled it well – calm, cool in order to keep the crowd where they were instead of getting worse! Similar to what Stacey said, I check in with my physical self first. Make sure my breathing is slow so I can think clearly about an appropriate response. Not always easy, but it sounds like you did what you could do given the situation. And in the end I think doing our best is really all we can do.

The good news – you survived and it made for good blogging! 🙂


Kathy | Virtual Impax February 19, 2009 at 10:12 am

Lance –

I was just talking with my oldest son the other day – reminiscing about the days when he and his older sister played basketball in Indiana. Funny, but when we were remembering – I had forgotten the games like that one!

But isn’t that WHY we have our children playing sports in the first place? To teach them about how to handle adversity?

It’s not just about winning or losing – but of course, those are important lessons as well.

The main reason I had my children participate in sports was to help them learn the important life lessons of how to win AND lose gracefully, how to work as a part of a team AND how to handle adversity.

I applaud you on how you handled the situation. You taught many lessons to those young athletes by your actions that day.

Kathy | Virtual Impax´s last blog post..Social Media is Simply Communication on Steroids


Jennifer February 19, 2009 at 11:54 am

Lance, I can tell this is something that has really upset you. I would have been upset too. Heartbeat racing, etc, etc… Sounds like they were definitely unruly and rude. That’s very unfortunate. I think you handled yourself very well. Like others have said it wasn’t about you at all. They weren’t mad at you. How a person handles themselves at any time is a reflection of what’s going on with them.

I’m with Ari on how I doubt you attracted this to happen. I don’t know, I’m not you, but do we attract everything? Suppose my neighbor is minding his own business and mowing his yard and hits a rock and it flies through my window. Did I attract that?? I don’t think so. Do we attract many things into our lives by our thoughts? You bet! But, sometimes life just happens and we have to deal with it the best we can, looking at it as an opportunity. If we go out yelling and screaming at our neighbor are we attracting his reaction of anger back at us? Probably. Can we attract peace by a different reaction on our part??

One of my quotes I have in Davina’s ebook, The Quote Effect is “Our lives are defined by who we decide to be in the face of adversity.” (or something like that) Sometimes, I like to think
about how I will deal with any situation that may come up. I like to picture myself remaining calm and putting myself in the other person’s (people’s) shoes, seeing things from their perspective and seeing if I can help good come from it. Am I perfect at this? No, but, I’m working on it. It often helps if I take some time to let things cool down, before I try to process a situation like you have faced. Certainly a difficult one…

I would say that you did a great job if the rest of the game went smoothly. 🙂

Jennifer´s last blog post..Should I or Should I not?


Julie February 19, 2009 at 12:02 pm

Hi, Lance. Welcome back to the land of the sane. 😉 Sports parents can be a little nuts. The ref probably thought you’d have better luck calming the storm than he would…and he was likely right.

It seems your Toastmaster’s experiences held you in good stead. Me? I’d just freeze. And then I’d die. But, [not much] kidding aside, the advice everyone here gave is excellent. The two Staceys have hit on a good starting point for maintaining control of ourselves. Once you can sense and then focus on your breathing, you come back inside yourself where it’s safe. You gather some strength, then peek your head out, again, for another go. 😉 But, you know all this, because you did great even without us!

Julie´s last blog post..The Unexpected


J.D. Meier February 19, 2009 at 12:03 pm

Great story!

Life tests us all the time. I always like the question, “do you stand strong when tested?” … it really is a good measure of our growth.

Growth doesn’t always feel great, but I think that’s what a sense of humor is for 😉

J.D. Meier´s last blog post..Test Your Decisions Against Reality


Vered - MomGrind February 19, 2009 at 1:29 pm

You did well! Serving at the Israeli Military was the hardest thing I ever had to do, but it taught me to always stay calm, even in the face of the toughest challenges and the worst adversity.


Jay Schryer February 19, 2009 at 1:37 pm

Wow! That’s an exciting story! My father used to coach girl’s basketball (although at the high school level), and so I know first-hand how out of control the parents can be. It sounds like you handled it well, though. If you had cracked, they probably would have swarmed you. Good job!

Jay Schryer´s last blog post..Trust Life’s Unfolding


Mindful Mimi February 19, 2009 at 1:48 pm

Looks like you had a great weekend 🙂 I mean it! You did something for the first time and it went well, at least 90% did. And the other 10%, the conflict went, from what I can read, pretty ok. Plus you were able to learn a lesson from it, or at least have some philosophical thoughts on it – and that’s always good isn’t it. I am sure you learned quite a bit about yourself. You probably did not enjoy it, but we learn (or should learn) most when we are in such situations, because they make us think much more than happy, no-problem ones.

I am not much a fan of team sports games as they create this collective ‘need to win’ spirit instead of just doing it for the fun of the game; and they also pull fanatic and sometimes aggressive patriotism out of people – whether home is the nation or just the family.

I think you handled it well. NO matter what you said and whether the people felt that you provided a solution. The bottom line is that the game continued and that was the end of it. So there: be proud of yourself. And if you still feel uncomfortable, you can always get some coaching sessions on how to handle conflict in large patriotic groups of parents that tend to turn into lions to protect their offspring 🙂

At least you have a break of no basketball for a few days at least 🙂

Oh and it’s not about how you ‘go down’ (so to speak) but about how you get up!

Mindful Mimi´s last blog post..Today is life – the only life you are sure of.


Karl - Work Happy Now February 19, 2009 at 2:18 pm

Man, you weave a awesome story. I could see the angry parents within my imagination. It wasn’t pretty.

You are right. Some things are supposed to test your metal. My new job responsibilities are doing just that. I could have quit and went looking for a new job, but that doesn’t help pay the bills.

I like that you went back to try to talk to the parents again. I bet they were much calmer the second time.

Karl – Work Happy Now´s last blog post..Design Friendly Atmosphere


Robin Easton February 19, 2009 at 2:22 pm

Wow!!! You did take a beating. I am glad you shared this Lance, because when something like this happens to me I tend to think I’m the only one who has stuff like this happen to them. Fortunately it rarely happens but it does tend to throw for a loop. Although lately I am much better seeing it with perspective and have always been good at forgiving, moving on and letting go. But now I seem to have a new element in there where I have greater separation and don’t take it so personally. I feel solid in myself and know who I am and that grounds me. AND I choose to always go with love and peace. I also tend to see what is mine and what is someone elses. And not judge them for what they feel but simply not “wear” it as mine. It is a very freeing feeling.

I am so glad you shared this side of your life. It makes you even more approachable and human than you already were, which was VERY human. But I’m sure everyone here can relate to this type of experience. Because you are embracing you humanity in this way it helps everyone else see that they are only human and can do the same. Makes it not such a big deal when we are, so to speak, beat upon. Wonderful Lance, very important this post. Hugs, Robin

Robin Easton´s last blog post..What is Intimacy?


Liara Covert February 19, 2009 at 2:57 pm

Emotion can be volatile. And yet, it is a profound teacher. Each person can evolve to discern subtle energies within and around him. As you learn to attune accurately to energy, you read what serves you and do not fall prey to the frequencies that do not. Anger is not meant to teach hatred, but love and forgiveness. The conditioned reflex can be different, yet reflexes can change.

Liara Covert´s last blog post..8 Ways to rediscover supernormal perception


Gennaro February 19, 2009 at 3:41 pm

This reminds me of a Mark Twain quotation: “whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect.” Character is often built when tough things come our way or when we are in the minority on an issue or thought. That doesn’t mean we should continue to pursue it…it just means we need to preserve.

Gennaro´s last blog post..20 Travel Tips From Our Commenters


Bri February 19, 2009 at 5:45 pm

Life has beat me up in the past, but what it taught me is that sometimes there’s a bigger plan than the one that I was holding on so tightly to. Letting go is really really hard, but the peace that overtakes you when you open up your arms and admit that you can’t do it alone is worth the risk.

Bri´s last blog post..Farm Beginnings


Sagan February 19, 2009 at 6:25 pm

It’s rough when things like that happen but, as you say, it’s a part of life. The best way to deal with it is to stay calm and keep a level head. We have to stand our ground when we get beat up… and we are always able to learn from these experiences.

Sagan´s last blog post..Taking the “work” out of the workout


Natalia Burleson February 19, 2009 at 7:01 pm

It sounds like you did a great job handling the crowd and it sounds like you didn’t take it personally. 🙂 I don’t handle adversity very well. I worry and play the what if game. I tend to freak out!

Natalia Burleson´s last blog post..Upstate NY Sunrise, Florida Sunset


Jay February 19, 2009 at 7:14 pm

Wow Lance. I can not believe people ever yell at you- you are the nicest guy I know. 🙂
Things are always much tougher when people’s children get involved. You had a tough weekend, but I am sure the life lessons learned from this experiance will enrich the future. Keep plugging along Lance!

Jay´s last blog post..It is all in my Nature


Stiletto Sports Jen February 19, 2009 at 7:22 pm

Wow! Quite a story. Really makes you stand back and think “what would you do” (not like that reality tv show though). I just know I’m glad I wasn’t in your shoes!
Wanted to stop in and say hi cuz I saw you were following me on twitter 🙂 Thanks for the follow! Good luck with the program!!

Stiletto Sports Jen´s last blog post..Stiletto Sports Nominees for Best Short Films


Jamie Simmerman- SEO writing February 19, 2009 at 7:46 pm

😀 Next year, I’m sending you a canister of mace and a basket of rotten tomatoes. You held up well under pressure my friend, and made me laugh while doing it. (no easy task this weekend)

Thanks for the reminder that adversity is part of life.

Jamie Simmerman- SEO writing´s last blog post..A New Perspective


Michelle - Lifeposter February 19, 2009 at 8:03 pm

Dealing with difficult situations and transforming them into life lessons is the key to positivity and peace. Good on you Lance.

I used to find it very hard to handle tough situations. I always saw the negative side of the situation and it affected me emotionally and physically (strong headaches and worse depression), I now try to turn it around and see something positive that I can take from it. I now communicate with people on a completely different level too.

Thanks for sharing another great story Lance.

Michelle – Lifeposter´s last blog post..Life Is Full Of Beauty


Jannie Funster February 19, 2009 at 9:00 pm

Lance, I’m really sorry this happened. I’m sure you controlled yourself well. I know in situations of negative tension the feelings can linger on long after, and usually those yucky feelings inside us are seen by only us.

And yes, somehow there has to be a learning experience in this, something positive to be gained.

I am curious – is this something you did as a volunteer?

Jannie Funster´s last blog post..Like a bord on a wire, 4


Scott February 19, 2009 at 9:26 pm

If you don’t remember throwing a chair or anything into the crowd, or even throwing your own words back in defense, I think you handled it well, outwardly. Only you know how you handled it inwardly. Beaten up on the inside is how it sounds, the way you describe it.

I’ve not been beaten up verbally in a situation like yours. I’ve been around folks at soccer games or youth football games where I see folks beating other folks up, and it makes me cringe. It hurts MY feelings to see some act the way that they do. It’s a pity.

Life beats me up quite often. Before last year, when I got beat up, it just meant another 6 pack and a little time. And by beat up I mean just life in general beating me up. Not a beating in the sense that you took a beating. Today, when life deals me a blow, I try to analyze what went wrong. TRY is the word there. I’m learning to look back and see at what point did this come on, what did I do or not do to cause it, and how am I going to get over it.

I still get aggravated when life isn’t going the way I want it. I’ve always got my friend, God, that I can turn to and talk to. He seems to be able to help me through a lot of my trials now-a-days.

Excellent post as always, Lance. I love thinking by here.

Scott´s last blog post..Rehab Reflections: The Final Entry – What A Day


Caroline February 19, 2009 at 10:46 pm

Whew…that’s tough! But you handled it like a pro.

Oh Boy, when life gets crazy I have learned to remain still. Then breathe. Then get through the first minute. It is all how we handle ourselves and I am learning not to panic… I find that within a day or two everything just blows over…

Caroline´s last blog post..I quit coffee


Arswino February 19, 2009 at 11:24 pm

Hi Lance, you’re right. We all have a choice. What’s important is that we don’t regret our decision. Once we take a decision we also have to be dare enough to take the risk. Just keep taking a step forward.
Thanks for the reflection, Lance.

Arswino´s last blog post..I Want To Be Extraordinary !!


Maya February 20, 2009 at 12:14 am

I wondered where you were Lance.

And I wonder how I’d have done in the situation. Managing other people’s emotions is a hard thing and when there is intensity in the environment it becomes harder to respond well. I think you did very well. I don’t think I do very well in times like this if I am upset as well. If I can remove myself from the situation emotionally I can manage it. If not, I crumble. You did very well!

Maya´s last blog post..The One Hundred: A Guide to Pieces Every Happy and Balanced Soul Must Embrace: LETTING GO


Robin February 20, 2009 at 12:45 am

Hi Lance – sounds to me like you handled it really well, though it wasn’t fun. I’m wondering if you feel you have moved to a new level – would you be better able to cope with it if this happened again? It’s interesting how when we get out there and do things, stuff gets thrown at us that makes us more effective people in the long run. It can be uncomfortable, but bring it on I say!

Robin´s last blog post..Finding Our True Selves


Lance February 20, 2009 at 4:43 am

@Daphne – Thank you Daphne, you really are way to kind to me (I’m soaking it up, though!). Really, besides this one issue – over the course of two days – everything went splendidly. The large majority of the weekend was a wonderful experience.

@Jewel – I don’t recall seeing it this bad before, either. And that really was the bad part here – how much this affected so many – and in very negative ways. It was like a poison that spread from coach to ref to fans. I really was so glad that for the remainder of the game while I observed – that everything went without problem. The rest of our tournament was a very satisfying experience.

@Evelyn – A couple of tough moments throughout the weekend, I would say. Overall, the weekend was great. Maybe I’m emphasizing the negatives here, when in reality – most of the weekend everything just came together really well. And you’re right about the emotions – I felt them very strongly from the fans I spoke with. However, I really did work to be “matter of fact” – not favoring one side or the other. As difficult as that was, it really did help me not only at that moment – also throughout the rest of the day when I encountered some of these parents or the ref – they all saw me mostly as a neutral party.

@Andrea – You bring up a great point about taking ownership. In fact, I felt this is exactly what I needed to do as soon as I got out onto the court. I felt it was important for me, as the tournament director, to attempt to bring some sense of control to the situation. And you’ve got me thinking tonight – do I always do this? The honest answer is ‘no’ – there are times I don’t step up to the plate and take ownership. Maybe that’s another part of the lesson for me here – taking ownership of everything in my life. I’m liking this concept very much! Thank you Andrea.

@Jenny Mannion – Overall, the whole weekend was a huge success – with a couple of issues mixed in, including this one (which was the worst). So, thank you Jenny – it’s been easy to focus on that which didn’t go well – yet really most of the weekend was very successful. During the whole incident, I really did try to remain neutral, and not let emotion take over. I believe I did pretty good at this, and I also believe that helped much in my addressing the crowd. And I know you’re right – it was the situation that people were upste with. Although at that moment it was all taking place, it felt like a personal attack. I did have one mother come up to me a few minutes after and apologize, essentially saying exactly what you’re saying here – she wasn’t upset with me – it was what had happened in the game that upset her. Again, I see this completely – and yet I also know that during the time it took place – it felt very much like an attack (even though I fully realized that I was just a messenger in this case). I did learn much – I’ll much better prepared to handle it all next year! (of course I’m sure there will also be new issues to work through next year, as well…). And I keep reminding myself this was one team out of 64. Thank you Jenny, very much, for your thoughts on all of this.

@Mark Salinas – Hi Mark. So, if you get to face obstacles like this often – I’m guessing that’s also a good way to get better at really working through them. I love the idea of keeping a positive attitude – chances are it might even spill over onto some of those in an emotionally volatile state. Thanks Mark!

@Dot – Thank much Dot. You are right – I think having the ref address the crowd would have led to an even more heated situation. I’ll have to look more into what Patricia is doing – I’ve been there, but don’t recall this. The rest of the whole tournament really was a wonderful experience.

@Ari – No, this wasn’t about me – and no, it wouldn’t have mattered who was speaking to these parents. Their minds and hearts had already been made up – and especially when we’re talking about something very near and dear to them – their children – the situation can get defensive and heated very quickly. That all said, at that moment – it felt directed at me. And through it all – I did go with what my conscience was saying to me. I really felt that I needed to do what I did – and to show a presence from a ‘neutral’ source at the tournament. So, I do feel I conducted myself in a manner I was happy with. Could I have done better? Sure. Yet, for all of this happening so fast – I do feel it went about as well as could be expected considering the emotional state of everyone. It was personal – while it was occurring. Once it was over, I did let it go. I really had no ill feeling directly at a particular parent (maybe part of that is because I really couldn’t focus on who were the sources while it was happening – there were just too many). I am moving on…


Lance February 20, 2009 at 4:44 am

@Wendi – I think I remained calm. I did raise my voice, although part of that was just to make sure my point was heard. I did not (or at least I pretty sure I didn’t) get to the point of screaming. I did remember this – that it wasn’t about me – however, that was after it was over. During this moment – it did “feel” like it was directed to me. Again, once it was over, I was able to easily let it go, and see it as it was – and that I was just a messenger in the process. And, yes my week is going better. In fact, really the weekend went quite well – except for a couple of moments (this being the worst of them).

@Tess – The chance of any of these kids ever becoming the next Michael Jordan (well, the female equivalent in this case) – is very, very slim. Yet, sometimes parents get heavily involved to the point of what is crossing the line? “No blood no foul” sounds like something I’ve heard around here before…although we bend that rule sometimes. It is very competitive today in kids sports. My wife is the competitive one in our family! And being competitive is not a bad thing – I think it really depends upon the level you take it to. And the level you’re playing at. All important factors to consider.

Sometimes, I think we all do this – behave in a manner we’re not happy with. Why? That does really depend upon both the person and the situation. What I like is that you’ve identified what the cause was – and you know what would have prevented this. That’s a greet example, Tess, of being true to yourself. Thanks for sharing that here today.

And I appreciate all your very kind words – it’s great to have you here, my friend. And…now you’ve given me a glimpse into your book – I’ve got through the forward so far – now you’re piquing my interest in what lies beyond. I’ve got to find some time to begin reading this further!

@Stacey/Create A Balance – It wasn’t feeling like a life lesson when it was going on – it just mostly felt like a difficult experience! I’ve found that with myself, too, in difficult situations – heart racing, throat closing. What’s interesting is that none of that seemed to be happening during this exchange. I really did go into it all very calmly. This is all making me think though, Stacey, about my physical reactions at other times – and what I can do to manage them. This is really interesting. Thanks much for this!

@Blake – Yep, it was kind of like March Madness (lots of basketball, that’s for sure!). The brackets were a little different – all teams played three games within their own bracket. And I know you’re right – as much as I’d like to have this all planned out so that there were no problems – some things can’t be planned. They just happen. And you have to go with the flow, realizing we can’t control it all. Great thoughts Blake.

@Stacey Shipman – This was all happening so fast – it just kind of flowed. Not necessarily all smooth, yet it was controlled. I’m sure I could have planned a better response had I had time to think things through a little bit – that was a luxury I didn’t have in this case. And dealing with people, and the emotions involved – I agree – this can be some of life’s biggest challenges. And I think that’s okay. It’s okay because it’s really people and relationships which are so important to the fabric of our being. The good news – I’m laughing Stacey – I had that same thought later in the day – this could make for a good blog post. Do I think about this stuff too much???

@Kathy|Virtual Impax – Remembering the good times, that’s what I like to hear Kathy! Learning to work together as a team, to work through adversity – yes, these are lessons I hope that my children learn from playing organized sports. It’s one thing to see adversity on your team (and we do – and that’s okay) and another altogether different to see adversity between parents and coaches/refs/other team. I don’t think this promotes the values we’re trying to teach our children. Especially when these moments become heated and start to lose control. Whether of not any of the kids picked up anything, I’m not sure. What I do know – I can choose how I act – and that’s whether others see it or not. Thank you Kathy, for these great points.

@Jennifer – What was upsetting was that this situation escalated to what it did become. It seems like when we’re dealing with adults – we should be able to reasonably find a solution that will at least appease everyone. The other upsetting part was how I let the attack feel personal while it was happening Once it was over, I too was over it – and really saw it for what it was – me being just a messenger. Yet, I would be lying if I said it didn’t feel personal with many people shouting at me. I agree, too, that I didn’t attract this. I do believe that it was, however, my job to help resolve this situation that arose. Did other attract this? Maybe – refs, coaches, parents? Your quote – pretty right on (you’re good Jennifer!). And I love it – it really says to me that we have a choice. And I think I did remain calm through it all. In fact, I’ve thought about this in exactly this way this week – that I don’t know what it’s like to have walked in any of their shoes. There is no way I should be anything but neutral – which I hope I was (I think so). You don’t know how relieved I was that the rest of the game did go smoothly – what a relief that was!


Lance February 20, 2009 at 4:45 am

@Julie – Hi Julie. Whew…the sane!! I have to agree, I don’t think it would have been good had the ref talked to the crowd – they were already highly upset with him. Yes, Toastmasters skills probably did kick in. In fact, just the day before at the tournament, I ran into a gentleman who used to go to Toastmasters back when I was involved – so we actually reminisced about those days just a few hours earlier. Die – funny, Julie! What surprised me is how calm I remained through it all – maybe because I didn’t have a strong emotional feeling one way or another coming into this situation – I’m not sure. Although I certainly was glad once it was all over!

@J.D. – Thanks! That is a good question to ask once it’s all over, thanks for sharing it. And you are very right about growth not always feeling great – this was definitely one of those moments…

@Vered – Thank you Vered. Wow, I can’t imagine what being in the Israeli Military was like – I would love to hear more about this sometime. What a great lesson that time taught you. And it goes to show that some of those things that really test us, end up being the things we learn the most from.

@Jay Schryer – It begs to question – what is the purpose of youth sports? How important has winning become in all of this? I was lucky in that I was on the basketball court when I addressed the crowd – if they had swarmed me – they probably would have had to have drug me off the court too…

@Mimi – I think you’re absolutely right Mimi! If you take away a couple of incidents (this being the worst) – then the weekend was a complete success! And yes, all the conflicts were dealt with at the time they came up, and we moved on. I did not like being in those moments of conflicts – although they were the biggest learning moments of the whole weekend. Team sports have the ability to teach kids about teamwork, adversity, winning, losing, and about each other. When the focus falls upon just one of these areas – that’s when problems develop. A break from basketball for a few days – yes! And, now I’ll be in the stands after this (and I promise I won’t become out of control). Mimi, thanks for this positive spin on it all. The weekend was a wonderful experience for me, short of a couple of moments that happened.

@Karl – Thanks Karl. Testing our metal. I like that saying! Those things which do this are good. It does make us better. I wish you continued good luck with your new job responsibilities. Stay with it as long as it feels “right”, my friend. And yes, after the “heat of the moment” had passed, it was a much calmer situation.

@Robin Easton – Robin, what a wonderful observation. In moments like this, it’s easy to feel alone and isolated. Yes, this doesn’t happen all that often (and I’m sure glad of it!). What you describe is exactly how I felt in this process – I didn’t let it become personal – even though it did feel like an attack on me at the time. Maybe, deep down, I knew this wasn’t a personal attack? I’m not sure. What I do know, is that by not letting it become personal, I was able to remain calm and collected through it all. And really, to just let it go once the whole incident was over. I guess by let it go, I mean that I let go of any thoughts that made it feel like this was personal. I did let go of the fact that this happened. Robin, thank you so much for all your thoughts here today. I am moved by them, and reminded of what it is that really matters. You have such a wonderful way of expressing yourself, and letting the truth surface. Thank you so much, my friend…

@Liara – This was very much a teaching moment (looking back on this moment). The idea of energy is a strong one, and a great point you make Liara. I felt strong energies of frustration and anger when I first addressed the crowd. And then, a few minutes later – when I was approached by one of the mothers – offering an apology – the energy was much more subdued and of love and caring. These are great thoughts…


Lance February 20, 2009 at 4:46 am

@Gennaro – Thanks for sharing the Mark Twain quote – that’s a good thought to stop and reflect upon. Yes, I AM going to look at this as a character building moment — thanks so much for that Gennaro! You’re right that I don’t want these character building moments all the time – however, I will work to embrace them when they do appear…

@Bri – Great points Bri. Maybe there is a bigger plan here (at the moment, I just wanted the whole thing to be over!). I find much comfort in your words, thank you!

@Sagan – I think that really was a key in this – I had to stand my ground – I had to stand beside what the call on the floor was. And I couldn’t waver – for the sake of the rest of the game yet to be played. And that’s whether the non-calls by the refs were legit or not. The truth is that these people officiating the game are human also – and may make mistakes. Still, it is their job to control the game, and any undermining of that on my part would have just added to the chaos that had taken place.

@Natalia – I think part of why this didn’t become personal for me was that I just didn’t have time to think about it before I had to act. It was something that had to be done “now”. I play the “what if” game too. Although, in this moment, there just wasn’t time to – so there wasn’t a chance to “freak out”! Otherwise…I just might have! I’m glad it was over quickly…

@Jay – Gosh, thanks Jay! I surely wasn’t feeling like much of a nice guy when this all happened. People do hold their children close to their hearts – and that I’m sure is part of what led to the highly emotional state of the crowd. A tough moment, really, over the course of what was really a pretty great weekend. And when I focus that way (thanks, Mimi) – the weekend really was a great experience!

@Stiletto Sports Jen – I wished I wasn’t in my shoes at that moment, as well! Or that my shoes were somewhere else! In the end, though, I do believe it was the right thing to do. Did it help to address the crowd? I can’t say for sure, although I think it did. I also think it helped for me to make my presence known for the remainder of the game – and that was for everyone’s benefit – parents, refs, coaches, and kids. Looking forward to learning more!

@Jamie – Hi Jamie! Okay, you’re the one making me laugh! Mace and rotten tomatoes!!! I love it – if you can’t beat ’em – hit ’em with a rotten tomato! I’m thinking they would have quickly forgot about their original concerns – as they would have been storming after me! You, my friend, bring out the fun in this – and it does feel great to laugh it off now!!

@Michelle – Thank you Michelle. This is a wonderful way to look at this – as in – what am I taking away from it – something positive or something negative? Maybe it seems like I’ve focused on the negative in this situation. (maybe I have). I do see positive though, and I will focus on that, Michelle. The positive – that the rest of the game, after I stepped in, went on without a single problem. And an email fromt the coach – that I was copied on – thanking me for stepping in to deal with the situation. There is much positive in this – it just might not always be obvious. Thank you Michelle…

@Jannie – I did try to control myself (and I believe I did so in a manner that showed no favoritism toward one side or another). And I remind myself that this was one moment out of an entire weekend that really went very, very well. And yes – this was a volunteer position. I’m already signed up to do it again next year (am I a glutton for punishment?). It really was a team effort – and I had a great team working with me to make this all come together. It ends up being such a large fundraiser for our girls basketball program – and helps to make it a program that is reasonable to be in.

@Scott – I didn’t throw anything!! I have beat myself up a little internally – although I’m moving on. Scott, you continue to impress me with how comfortable you are in sharing your story. It’s a great gift you are giving to others. A belief in what is possible – of where you can get to. Continue this good fight, my friend. And your comment about God reminds me of something I’ve heard before — “Let go and let God”. With Him in our corner – we are going down right paths… Thanks much Scott, your words really put this all in perspective…

@Caroline – Thanks so much, Caroline. I love the way you’re looking at moments like this – as in what will they be like in a day or two? Most often, they do blow over. This one has some lingering effects that have to be addressed yet – although – for the most part it has blown over. And certainly the emotional state of everyone has returned to normal. This is all a comforting thought Caroline, thank you.

@Arswino – Hi Arswino. I do believe that is it – choice. We have the choice in how we respond. And in this case, I don’t regret the choices I made. And I don’t because I believe that what I did was neutral to all parties, and helped the rest of the game move along. That said, I’m sure I could have done better – yet – at the time – working with what I had – this was the best I had to give. Thanks Arswino.

@Maya – I should have just setup a cot at the gym – all I did at home was sleep!! The emotional state is what made this the most difficult – and it’s not a typical situation at all for me to be in. What did help was that I was neutral in it all – I’m sure it would have been much more difficult had my emotional state been effected by this as well. So, I really think what you’re saying is so true – by removing ourselves emotionally from a situation – it becomes much easier to control. Thanks much Maya.

@Robin – Fun it was not! And yet, you are correct in that I came out of it – better prepared if something like this happens again. It really was a great learning experience. I’m a little more apprehensive, though, than you are Robin (as in – I’m not saying “bring it on” yet!). As much as I know this is a good way to expand and grow, I’m enjoying a few days, right now, of relative peace!!


Stephen Hopson February 20, 2009 at 6:55 am

Well, I am certainly late into this conversation but I wanted to say that I felt as if I was there watching the whole thing unfold. Like some of the commentators above, I felt the thickening of the tension, even feeling what you might have felt when you were asked to address the angry crowd. I know my stomach would have jumped to my throat in that situation.

While everything worked out, I noticed you were still on the fence about how you felt you handled it. I sensed that you didn’t feel you did a good job – just a hunch. Am I right? If so, why not? Only you know the answer. It could be that you were too hard on yourself, thinking you could have done a better job because otherwise your ego was probably telling you that the crowd wouldn’t have yelled if you handled it better.

That’s the ego. Sometimes it can be our friend, sometimes it can be our worst enemy. I can relate to this because there are times when I’m speaking to a crowd on a speaking gig and in the end sometimes I feel as if I didn’t do a good enough job. I walk away thinking, “Something’s missing.” I’m still learning to tell my ego to back down and say “I did the best I could under the circumstances.” And it’s true – no matter what we’re up against, however we react to it is the best we could have done under the circumstances, especially when thrust into a situation at the last minute, you know?

So, if my hunch is correct, cut yourself some slack. From an objective point of view, I think you handled it brilliantly. But what I and others think really don’t matter. It’s what YOU think you did that truly matters in the end.


rummuser February 20, 2009 at 12:04 pm

Lance, with a great deal of effort and with the guidance of great teachers, I have succeeded in acting and not reacting. This is the simplest form of being able to function in a sane way. The trick is in training oneself to be aware of what happens when something goes wrong. The old tricks like counting to ten etc are all tools that help in increasing that state of awareness where in you can decide a course of action. Unfortunately, most of us react and that is where the problem lies. In your story, clearly everyone involved was reacting. Had there been some clarity of purpose, the situation could have been brought under control and handled in a satisfactory manner.

rummuser´s last blog post..A Tale Of Two Crises


Lori February 20, 2009 at 1:24 pm

As one of the referees in a kids karate tournament, I had a similar near-riot of parents who were hot under the collar about injuries in one sparring ring. I’m glad you handled it better than the tournament hosts did at that event! You took the bull by the horns, made your case, and went on. When faced with protective parental anger, that’s about all you can do, unless you want to make matters worse.


Henie February 20, 2009 at 2:34 pm

Hi Lance,
As you say, life does not travel in a sure and straight line. What came up for me with this is that everything is indeed a matter of choice as to whether one chooses to “react” or “respond.” Of course, I know that I am better at reacting but it also gives me lessons of what happens when I do:~)

Another thing also is “not getting attached to the outcome of things.” Whenever this happens, one tends to get stuck rather than accept, learn and move forward.

Thank you for another stimulating post, Lance! :~)

“We all see the same rainbow but at different hues of the spectrum!” ~Henie~

Henie´s last blog post..Sempiternal Glow


Marelisa February 20, 2009 at 3:14 pm

Hi Lance: When I worked for the Panama Canal I would get “beaten up” (verbally) by union representatives all the time. I did reach a point where I was pretty much oblivious to it. It must have been tough to face those parents, people can get really angry when their children are involved.


Jean Browman--Cheerful Monk February 20, 2009 at 3:33 pm

When life challenges me my favorite prayer is, “Thank You, Lord, for the opportunity. I sure hope You know what You’re doing!” It helps put things into perspective.

Jean Browman–Cheerful Monk´s last blog post..Not a Game for Control Freaks


Lance February 20, 2009 at 8:34 pm

@Stephen – I’m sure I could have done better. That said, no I really wasn’t upset with how I ‘performed’ in this situation. More than anything, I was upset that it came to this. And I will say that I didn’t necessarily enjoy this position I was in. So, while overall I’m okay with how I reacted under the circumstances – the more I think about it – the more I do also realize that I have been questioning some of this in my head. And for that, I will cut myself some slack – thanks Stephen. And I think you’ve ended this so wonderfully – it matters not what others think – it matters what I think. Thank you Stephen…

@Rummuser – You bring up a great point of acting vs. reacting. There was much reacting going on. Was I part of that? I like to think I acted upon the facts in front of me – although I will admit it was hard not to react with a crowd shouting at me. I have to think about this one a bit. Thanks for the thought today…

@Lori – I give you a lot of credit, Lori, for taking on the role of a referee. It just seems like a position that doesn’t get much appreciation. My goal really was to make sure the situation did not get any worse – which it did not. That’s also why I stayed for the remainder of the game – to ensure the already volatile environment did not get any more so. Thanks.

@Henie – I like that word “respond” – it goes along well with NOT reacting. And to me, it implies that I am choosing the response – versus reacting seems more driven by the act that has happened (the shouting in this case). I think I definitely had an advantage in that I came into the situation unattached to any one particular side. And this did help me to remain calm throughout. And there is a rainbow here too – in a game that completed in a much better position that the storms that came during the middle of the game.

@Marelisa – Hi Mare. Oh, I’m really sorry you had to go through that. I know what it was like happening once – having it happen regularly – would be a real downer. Or – I guess – something you just block out. I’m glad it’s over – and that the vast majority of all the other games went on wonderfully. This weekend will be much less stressful!

@Jean – I like that prayer, Jean! He does know! (even if we sometimes question what He’s putting us into!). Thanks for that reminder, it really does help.


deepikaur February 20, 2009 at 9:24 pm

Sounds like you had a difficult weekend on you. Sorry about that, man. But you put yourself up to the task of hearing more than one side, and responsibly responding in the soundest manner possible, which you do deserve credit for. 🙂

How do I deal with stressful situations? When burdened with tension, I simply love going out for runs. But if it’s a situation that requires direct confrontation, I usually go with what seems best for everyone at the moment, though a better option always seems to pop up at a later time.

deepikaur´s last blog post..My Pandora Replacement [Music]


Davina February 21, 2009 at 12:33 am

Hello Lance. I feel bad about this. From what I know of you, you are a good person with the kindest of intentions. I hate to think of you being thrown to the lion’s den, so to speak.

Maybe you attracted this. Maybe you didn’t — we’ll never know. But I can say that you were probably the best man for the job! They couldn’t have ask for a better messenger. Sorry you had to endure the fury though. When I’m on the ball, and this happens I remind myself that it’s not about me. And, look at how many supportive comments you’ve received here. I bet they outnumber the crowd at that game 🙂

Davina´s last blog post..A Dangerous Metaphor


suddenly slimmer February 21, 2009 at 3:42 am

Can’t say much but sorry to hear…I often tell myself..shitty things happen but again this too shall pass..another bright day will come

suddenly slimmer´s last blog post..This Is Me..Outside Gym Life and Teaching Life


Liara Covert February 21, 2009 at 8:59 am

You can also beleive opposition does not exist and work on peling through yoru layers of misunderstanding. Each choice is your own and each thought brings its own unforeseen consequences.

Liara Covert´s last blog post..4 Ways to reactivate your true self


Patricia - Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker February 21, 2009 at 11:20 am

Lance, when you are the one getting yelled at and becoming red-cheeked from embarrassment, it is difficult to remain calm and be detached. Sounds like you did a great job of doing just that.

A children’s basketball game can quickly get out of hand. It is rarely because of the children. It is usually parents who don’t even try to control their anger. You could not pay me enough to be a referee.

My husband was an Athletic Coordinator for several different cities during his early career in Recreation before he discovered that he prefered to be self-employed. He said that the church leagues, whether it was basketball or baseball, were always the worst for arguing with the decisions of the referees. He would get many calls at midnight asking him to settle a disagreement between the teams that played that night.

In my own life, I have learned to look for the lessons that come with each challenge. This is beginning to happen when I find myself in the middle of the situation rather than after it is over. This is progress.

I often ask myself, “What do I need to learn from this?” Usually it has to do with my fears or I am resisting some change in my life. It sometimes comes back to “Let Go and Let God.”, an Al-Anon slogan that helps me to realize that I need to stop trying to control everything, AGAIN. Being a control freak, or I should say stopping being a control freak has been my biggest struggle since I became aware that I was doing it.

Patricia – Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker´s last blog post..Kindness—Why Is It Easier To Be Kind To Strangers?


brandi February 21, 2009 at 1:55 pm

how do I deal with them now? honestly? PERSONALLY.

but I love the story you shared because it showed how NOT personal the muck is. It’s still muck but it has nothing to do with YOU.

I love this story. LOVE. Have I said that enough?

thank you.

brandi´s last blog why the joy rebel thing?


Lance February 21, 2009 at 3:24 pm

@Deepikaur – A good run – ah, yes – a great way to break free of some built up tension! I want spring to come soon – so I can get back out more often to run! At this moment that happened, running wasn’t an option! And I really did try to look at the whole situation objectively. The good news – this is leading up to some discussion we’ll be having at our next board meeting regarding both officiating and fan activity during the tournament.

@Davina – Well, thank you Davina! It certainly wasn’t a “talk” I wanted to have – yet in the end, I think it worked out okay. Not perfectly by any means, and definitely rough while it was all going on. Still, maybe it’s time – but I’m pretty okay with it all now – and what is left to be discussed will be at our board meeting in March. And that should a better environment for this discussion to take place. And maybe that is part of it – all the positive comments here – it does really help!!

@Suddenly Slimmer – Hi Alia. “This too shall pass…” – that’s exactly what I told myself as it was all happening. And it is passing…days are brighter! Thanks much!

@Liara – Good point again, Liara. Did I have layers of misunderstanding? I’ll have to ponder this thought a bit…

@Patricia – Spiritual Journey of a Lightworker — Yes, I don’t think you could pay me enough to be a referee either! Interesting you mention the church league and them being the worst for arguing. I heard a similar remark from a couple of the referee’s we had for the tournament. Surprising… The “Let go, let God” is a very affirming statement (why didn’t I think of that when I was going through this!!). And, I am seeing lessons from all of this – from better planning we can do in the tournament, to how I might address a similar situation if faced with it in the future – and that’s the good in this…

@Brandi – As much as it felt personal during those moments – you’re right, it wasn’t. At least it wasn’t a personal attack on me. And that is a great lesson from this – that it doesn’t have to be personal – that I don’t have to take it personally. I tried not to. And maybe it helped that one mother came up and apologized afterward – and really indicated that her frustration was not with me, but what happened during the game. Anyway – personal it was not…and I’m working on remembering that!


Liara Covert February 21, 2009 at 5:12 pm

Lance, whenever you step back and review a situation after the fact, you gain objectivity and the opportunity to view things differently. How you interpret events at a given moment depends on your level of awareness. Emotional responses differ from other kinds of responses. As you evolve to sense emotions before they happen and as they unfold, you discover you have options to let them consume you or, rise above them. Reflection about a particulsr experience can lead you to decide to react differently in similar circumstances next time.

Liara Covert´s last blog post..Retrace the dots & reprogram the mind


Evita February 21, 2009 at 8:32 pm

Hi Lance

So I take it that was the Valentine’s weekend you were talking about 😉 Okay, okay so not the most romantic of situations….

Lance I have to say my thoughts are along those with Liara regarding these situations. I have changed my life so much simply in my thinking over the past few years, that today very little if anything “rattles” me in any sort of way. There is perfection and a time for learning in every moment. I know most people do not want to hear this – but that is just it, I really do not look at life or live life like most people.

And at the end of the day, and in the grand scheme of things, none of this really matters, what matters is who did you decide to be in the given situation – how you decided to express and experience yourself. As for others…well we know we will NEVER be able to make everyone happy or control their thoughts. But it is usually thinking about this “what the others will think or are thinking” that brings out in us our lowest moments.

But as you said…this too shall pass and that line alone is enough to give any situation a lot of perspective.

Evita´s last blog post..The Quote Effect E-Book – What Effect Will It Have On You?


Bunny got Blog February 21, 2009 at 9:03 pm

Well you did a splendid job of handling the situation.I can imagine parents can be turn in an instant when their children are involved.

Being put in a spot like that you have to not feel provoked speak wisely and calmly.

Great article on a unique matter.

Bunny got Blog´s last blog post..The Forgotten Scientist: Nikola Tesla


Nathalie Lussier February 23, 2009 at 11:10 am

Wow that’s some type of adversity, for sure. I can definitely testify to the way crowds can get emotionally involved. When I went to Tae Kwon Do competitions, the parents were often louder than the competitors! Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but you know, in your case it turned a bit dangerous.

I think you handled yourself well, and you’re really a great person for this type of responsibility. 🙂


Mike King February 23, 2009 at 10:28 pm

Lance, being a peacemaker is not something you can do with scars and getting your hands dirty. Sounds like you experienced that first hand. Thanks for sharing your experience, I’m glad I read it and am happy to see some people willing to diffuse a situation (whether you seemed to or not) instead of just ignoring it letting it get worse!

Mike King´s last blog post..8 Methods to Find Inspiration


Patricia February 24, 2009 at 12:10 am

Lance, I appreciated your story and have been a parent on the bench when upsetting things are happening…Sounds like you handled it the best you could at the time and that you signed on again is a good sign that you did not let this over come your whole event and your whole being.
That you might have had a nagging feeling inside that you could have done it differently is part of learning the lesson of the event and it is the voice of the teacher. You will be different next time because of the experience and what you learned from it – aren’t we amazing creatures.

Thank you too to Dot for the shout out about my Compassionate Communications – nonviolent communications posts I did over 4 posts. That is truly amazing stuff…in this case maybe to help settle the voice inside.

Very good post and sounds like a very good job. Thank you so much for sharing this experience and for volunteering for kids.

Patricia´s last blog post..Confessions of a Practicing Self Advocate


Zandria March 2, 2009 at 12:15 pm

This is absolutely true. I’ve been experiencing some winter-doldrums, but a friend of mine has had major stuff happening, right after the other. It sucks. 🙁

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Lance March 5, 2009 at 5:35 am

@Liara – Awareness is a key. And part of that awareness comes from doing, and then reflecting upon it – and seeing how you could act differently. Great point!

@Evita – Hi Evita. Not a romantic Valentine’s weekend – yes, you’re right!! And that you do not live life like most people – Evita – that’s really what I love about you. You are uniquely “you”, and in a way that just seems true to your core. I hope that I came across as calm and under control in this whole situation. And I love your point to that we can’t control others – how true! What others think – that’s one I could work on yet. Anyway, your words here today provide much comfort. Thank you, my friend…

@Bunny – Thanks Bunny. I’m glad it’s over. And we’re moving on. All in the tournament was a great success.

@Nathalie – This adversity was so sudden, and so unplanned. In a way, maybe that was good. I didn’t have a chance to let self-doubt creep in. Thanks so much for your very kind words. It’s always great to see you here Nathalie…

@Mike – Thanks Mike. It was one of those unfortunate situations where it just quickly got out of control. I’m just glad we were able to bring it back in control, and have the rest of the game go smoothly. Since then, we’ve had a lot of discussion on what is appropriate for refs, fans and coaches. If anything, it’s helped us (as a basketball program) see what we can do to help alleviate situations like this in the future.

@Patricia – Your words are very comforting Patricia, thank you for them. And…I’m working my way over to visit your Compassionate Communications posts – they do sound wonderful.

@Zandria – Hang in there Zandria. And for your friend, that is difficult when one bad thing happens after another. Being there for people in times like this can be all the difference in the world.


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