Two weekends ago, I drove (rode along) to Detroit with a friend to see the Green Bay Packers take on the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. As you know, I love a good road trip, I love spectating sports, and I love my Green Bay Packers, so the trip was a no-brainer. My friend is a Detroit Lions fan (yes, they really do exist), so our friendly NFC North rivalry added an extra layer of excitement to the trip. I was looking forward to gloating to her on the ride home about what I thought would be a definite Packers win.
At this point in my career as Packers fan, I should know that no Packers win is guaranteed and Sunday’s game was a harsh reminder of that fact. I thought this game would be an easy win, but instead it turned out to be a bitter defeat. Perhaps the most painful part of the game though, was watching veteran Packers kicker Mason Crosby miss an unprecedented amount of kicks. His five missed kicks played a major role in the Packers loss, but they weren’t the only contributing factor. However, had he made those kicks, the Packers would’ve been up by fifteen points.
After the first missed kick, it seemed like Crosby had an off moment. This is a guy who can kick in the elements, who has made game winning field goals by more than 50 yards. Even the second miss could’ve been written off as another off moment. But by the third time, it was clear that it was more than just “being off.” The Packers thought so too because they started trying for two-point conversions instead of sending in Crosby to kick the extra point. When Crosby missed the fourth kick, I thought it was time to get a new prescription for my glasses because I must’ve not been seeing straight. From my seats behind the goal posts, the fifth kick looked like it went in–but, it didn’t. I started yelling obscenities.
By this point in the game, it became painfully clear that I had driven 600 miles to watch the Packers lose–not the outcome I had expected, and I didn’t expect the loss to be driven by a series of failed field goal attempts.
Then when Crosby showed up for the sixth time, with seven seconds remaining in the game, my frustration with the game turned into excitement. Here was a player who’d had a very bad day at work, but he was still going out on the field to try another field goal. At least he was still trying! Very few people actually have the guts to continue working at something after they’ve failed at it multiple times. I leapt to my feet and yelled out some words of encouragement. Much to my surprise, the kick was good! The sixth time was the charm!
I love a good sports metaphor, and this game was a mini-lesson in never giving up despite failure. In life, we’re all going to fail whether it’s in a relationship, a test at school, meeting a deadline, reaching a goal we’d set for ourselves, etc. Just because one fails doesn’t mean one should throw in the towel. Keep trying for those metaphorical field goals even after you miss. Some of the most successful people out there are the ones who never gave up on their goals, especially when people around them did. Just ask J.K. Rowling or Beyonce.
I should note that the following Sunday, Mason Crosby bounced back and played an amazing game, kicking the game-winning field goal as time ran out. He was named the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance. Clearly, he did not let his failures from the previous week define him or negatively impact his future performances.