By Brian Gotta, President of CoachDeck LLC
British statesman and novelist Benjamin Disraeli said, "There is no education like adversity." Well, if that’s the case then we all got a Masters and a couple of PhDs in 2020.
All jokes aside, it would really be a shame to have gone through this year and not have learned some valuable lessons we will use forever. There are some obvious ones, on the surface, that we probably all recognize.
Hopefully, we now understand how much some of the things we took for granted mean to us. Being with loved ones, friends, even being around strangers will be a singular pleasure once this is over. I imagine there are those who hated going into work each day but who are now craving the interaction with co-workers. When we return to normalcy, let’s try and hold onto this new appreciation for human connection as long as possible. And when our kids go back to playing sports, I hope we all realize what a gift it is for them to be playing, and for us to be coaching and watching.
Whether we liked it or not, we were all given a crash course in being team players. We have sacrificed our own wants, desires, and comfort for the good of society. And while our individual rights and freedoms are important, it is also vital we understand that if we want the benefits and protections that society provides, we must give, in order to take.
Many of us have figured out new ways of doing things. Be it Zoom calls, cooking, or some other new activity, we have all gained skills that will be useful in the future. We have become stronger, more self-sufficient, and more resilient. My family is doing grocery pick-up for the first time. I never would have considered it before, but it’s actually great.
However, I am realizing that maybe the most important thing this pandemic has taught me is a little vaguer. In small ways I see the world differently now, because I am a little different. It is hard to describe but, oddly given the circumstances, I feel a little more at peace. I do not let as many little things bother me. I don’t worry as much about deadlines and business. Ironically, I think this freedom makes me even more productive.
I do not feel as much like I have to control every minute of the day. I am not saying that now I believe everything is just fate. And I am not any less driven. But you know how you have heard of people who survived a plane crash and come out feeling every moment going forward is bonus, a gift? Having made it through this far and, hopefully, seeing light at the end of the tunnel, I can sort of relate. It is a matter of prioritizing what is important and understanding that things will probably work out.
Abraham Lincoln said, “Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” I understand that for many this year has been tragic. And, for all of us, we cannot relax just yet, can’t let our guards down. But let’s try to make the New Year as happy as we want it to be. All those diplomas we earned in 2020? Hang them on the wall. And look at them often.
Brian Gotta is a former youth baseball coach and volunteer Little League board member. He is the President of CoachDeck and also author of four youth sports novels and a baseball coaching book which can be found at www.booksbygotta.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org