The University of Texas was one of the first. They were not winning games, not playing well, and had some dissent from the team showing up on social media. Was it time for practically brand new head coach Charlie Strong to go? The “experts” all said he’s a great coach but perhaps he just can’t be successful in a place that appears to still have racism at its core. And then they beat Oklahoma two weeks ago. And now no one has much to say.
Same thing happened to the San Francisco 49ers. After beating Minnesota in week 1, they lost the rest of their games, some by a lot. Oh no! Was Colin Kaepernick done? Was he a one hit wonder? Was Jim Harbaugh the sole reason they were successful and now they are falling apart? And then they took the NY Giants to overtime. Oh. Maybe? And then they beat Baltimore. And again, no one has much to say.
Next on the list of critics? My Broncos and #18. What’s wrong with Peyton Manning? The Broncos are in trouble! Peyton is wearing a glove and has lost feeling in his fingertips! Oh no! Except they are SIX AND ZERO. And Peyton has been wearing a glove for years and lost feeling in his fingertips after his surgery years ago. And Peyton managed to throw for multiple records since his surgery. I did get a huge kick out of the announcer last week…he critiqued Peyton’s throwing saying he didn’t have a strong arm and then Peyton threw a 75 yard TD pass. The other announcer just subtly said, “I guess there’s nothing wrong with Peyton’s arm.” (Or something to that effect.) Ha! The players in Denver have had enough. They are on social media telling people to give it a rest. On a local TV show, Emmanuel Sanders stated what many others have been saying; Peyton is learning a NEW offense and an entirely different way of playing than he has done his entire 18 year career. He’s fine. Back off.
The common theme? CHANGE. How well do any of us do with change? Very, very, very few people are so adaptable that they perform their absolutely very best the moment change happens. There is no rhyme or reason why, but we all adapt to change at different paces and with varying levels of measurable success. When we get all excited that one person or group is so amazing (i.e. Tom Brady), and then get critical of another, we should ask ourselves what change they have (or have not) experienced. Adapting to change and finding your rhythm in the new reality can be challenging for anyone. Young, old, experienced, smart, super talented…change is something that keeps us real and shows our humanity. Instead of asking, “What’s wrong with…” ask, “What’s changed?”