The Day After

The Super Bowl is one of the most celebrated days in American culture. Each year a large portion of our country gets crazy excited to sit down and scream loudly at a screen.

49ers Logo

But it’s not the screen that we are yelling at, it’s at the team we cheer for, the team we pray against, or the visually impaired ref that seems to defy all logic. I can talk about this, because I’m one of those dorks who’s yelling at the screen!

Especially since my Niners made it back to the arena! It’s been a very loooooooong season of not being there. And I’m very proud of my boys for working this hard as a team to get here.

But today, one team celebrates, while the other is kind of…numb. Why? Because coming this far, with all of the hard work, and dedication, and sacrifice, only to walk away second best, sucks!

And to some, it’s unbelievable. For the winning team, there will be a pause in life to celebrate. Many times over the next few days they will ask themselves, “Did this really happen?!”

Then starts the journey back. And with the taste of victory, comes an even greater desire to return to the event where that victory was attained.

My question is, what does the coach of the losing team say to his players? “Sorry guys, you just weren’t good enough.” Or, “Hey, at least we made it this far.” Or,  “The great thing is, now we can get caught up on The Bachelor.”

You see, while they didn’t win, they did show up! They worked their backsides off to get here. They healed in ice baths, and played with torn muscles, some with broken bones. For what? The chance to be heralded the best! The chance to be called super!

The truth is, they are super. And they need to know it. So does your team. The team that shows up everyday, has worked through a lunch or two, has stayed some late hours to get the project done, needs to know that YOU think they are great. That you believe they are super. So tell them.

By the way, I wrote this right before the game so it wouldn’t alter my writing. Today I lament for the team that I am so proud of! You boys are champions!!

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30 thoughts on “The Day After”

  1. That’s dead on. When we lose we have to be of the mindset that we lick our wounds, LEARN, and get back onto that field. Thanks for the reminder, I’m headed out to do just that.

  2. Great article Chris! This speaks to me deeply!

    What you are saying seems so obvious, yet I see teams get caught up in the next five alarm fire without even acknowledging the one they just put out (even if the building was lost).

    That kind of repetition would leave anyone feeling depressed and plain worn out.

    This goes right along with the Thank you cards I bought this weekend from your post last week. I can’t wait to give these out and pour some love into a few people that really deserve it!!

    Thanks for the inspiration as usual!

  3. Good thoughts, Chris. I’ve been thinking lately that it is ridiculous for a team that actually makes it to the World Series or Super Bowl to be considered “losers”. They lost an important game, but 2nd best is pretty stinkin’ good too!

    BTW, I can’t stand football. I worked in the yard. During the commercials, my Niner fan husband came out to tell me what was happening. He might as well have been speaking Egyptian. I hope I said “uh-hunh” and “oh yeah?” in the right places.

  4. There was a football game last night?

    Hmmm…

    But great post Chris.

    “Hey team, we missed our goal, but you guys rocked! Let’s go get ’em this month.”

    “Hey Joe, I know you didn’t hit your sales goal but I loved how you busted it the last month.”

    “I know the customer left anyway, but you really handled that call well. Keep it up!”

    All “failures” with a positive side. THAT is leadership.

  5. I’m thinking the coach who lost should make a nice sandwich.

    You guys worked your butts off. You played your best.

    The power went out. (I think that helped the 49er’s.) We need to work on our receptions in the future – that hurt us in the first half.

    But I love how you jumped back into the game when the lights came on again. Your turned the heat up – way up. You worked together, and brought us back into the game. Kaepernick, your passes and running plays were brilliant.

    I’m not really a football fan. We went to watch the game with some friends because they invited us to over.

    Confession: I even had to ask around to see who was playing.

    I’m thinking that in either defeat or victory, a great leader should always recognize what went right. Address what went wrong, and praise again.

  6. Awesome Thoughts!

    You are sooo right…often we don’t tell our team members how much we appreciate them. They may not play with broken bones, but many people come to work with family problems, money issues, or serious health issues and put on a smile and do the best they can.

    1. Agreed. Unless we’re paying attention, it’s hard to see the hidden worlds people live in and deal with each day.

      It’s tempting to just WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) team members – in other words: they look ok, they’re doing the work so it’s ok to assume they’re ok.

      I see an error there.

  7. If I were the coach is question, I’d simply say this: “Losing is not at indictment on your ability. However, your response the losing usually is.” Then I’d walk away until next year.

    Of course, since there is no such thing as a Super Bowl without the Steelers participating, I had plenty of time to consider other questions. For example:

    – What if we adopted the culture of the Mayan / meso-American ball games where the loser (or the victor, depending on translation) are sacrificed?

    – What would our political leadership look like with these life or death consequences? If we sacrificed the loser of elections, could we inspire more passionate politicians to pursue office?

    – What would Super Bowl advertising look like if the creative departments of the worst rated ads were sacrificed?

    – Can I call myself a farmer for the 10 x 12 plot I have of plants on my apartment balcony?

    I am incredibly sorry for detracting from the first paragraph, but these things have been on my mind all day and now I think I can be more productive in my work.

    Good post, Chris!

    1. I like where you’re going with this! There could be a lot of potential to adopting Mayan game rules to politics. Very efficient. I also think the Mayan rules should apply under the following additions:
      – If you break your campaign promise
      – If you take the country 1 cent more into debt.
      – If you fail to balance your country’s budget
      – If you tell a lie during your campaign
      – If you add more tax to the already heavily taxed

      And I do think you can call yourself a farmer. 😉

  8. First complaint, I didn’t get an email notification about the post, so I don’t feel as special anymore. HA! I thought about when we keep telling kids “It’s not about winning, it’s about having fun”. In business and in life, it’s thinking about how far we have come and what it took to get there.

  9. I didn’t get to watch the game (or commercials), so I can’t speak about specific parts of it. Great thought though.

    For the 49ers to even make it to the Super Bowl shows that they are great. It pains me to say that because they beat my team twice this season.

    The test of your leadership is not when things are going great, but when things are going badly. How you handle negatives (or when you’re alone) shows your character.

  10. Great post. You are so right that it’s easy to forget that they are super because they made it, even though they didn’t win. And it’s so easy to go from project to project without celebrating the small victories with your team. I am trying hard this year to pay more attention to the journey – and to celebrate the little wins and hard work of my team instead of being so focused on the end result. Thanks for the reminder.

  11. Chris did you just reference the Bachelor? Nooooo….. ;-). I agree. Win or lose on one of the biggest sports stages and I think your doing just fine. As for my / our team, heck yea they deserve praise everyday. They come to work and bust their butts just as these fellas do, they deserve all the praise in the world. Great comparison.

  12. Great post Chris. It’s so true, its easy to forget all the hard work that you put in…especially when things dont always end up like you plan. I think it’s especially important to affirm hard work when things suck and don’t go the way you’d have liked them to!

  13. I wrote a similar post related to the November election. I wrote the post Monday night before the election, and it posted Wednesday morning after the election. It was pretty amazing to see the response (it was actually the most popular post on my blog).

    Sorry about the Niners. I think they needed a longer power outage. I wanted to see David Akers win a Super Bowl.

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