Don’t Lose Your Poise. Whatever happens on the ball field today, don’t lose your poise. — Frank Broyles.
Fifty years ago I played football for Arkansas. Despite many wonderful moments, fame and glory came with a price. No, not what you think — the injuries, but during those “glory days” we each carried a target on our backs. There was always someone who tried to take a teammate down by goading him into a fight or losing one’s temper. It was a no-win situation. Engage the punk and when you knocked him out or broke his nose, you were a bully. Walk away, and you were a chicken. Like I said, it was a no-win situation.
Life doesn’t get any easier, and more public one’s profile he or she grows a bigger target on his or her back. No-win situations don’t get any easier to handle with age, if anything they get harder. I can’t tell you how many times over my life I heard Coach Broyles’ words ringing in my ears, “Don’t lose your poise.”
I wish I could say I always refused to engage but I can’t. But I can say when I engaged, I lost the battle before it started. To not engage is not easy, the world is full of people who expect you to fight back and if you don’t they think the worse of you. Much like a date back in college who failed to see how much courage it took not just punch a bully or a jerk in the nose.
I read recently “When the debate is over, the loser always engages in slander.” I would add “or worse.” There are very few good examples for our children these days. It seems mud-throwing, trash-talking, and the politics of political personal destruction are the games of choice. But there are a few. Rent the movie “Gandhi” and watch it with your kids and or grandkids.
Jesus got it right when he said to “turn the other cheek.” But we should never mistake turning the other cheek for cowardice, to the contrary, oftentimes turning the other cheek is the most courageous response of all.