I watched Coach Gregg Popovich’s post-game interview after the Spurs lost their playoff series to the Thunder. I’m a big fan of the Spurs, but win or lose these moments never fail to entertain. It never ceases to amaze me that reporters just don’t get it by now, but nonetheless as soon as I heard the question it wasn’t hard to guess the response Popovich would give:
Reporter: Do you have any regrets about not going smaller earlier?
Popovich: No. You coaching now?
It’s easy for me to consider how I might respond in someone else’s situation. I have the advantage of not being in the moment, having 20/20 hindsight, seeing the situation from a different perspective. But, I’m at a greater disadvantage because I don’t know what I don’t know and, more importantly, I’m not the person to whom I would love to give advice. All of that to say that even though I think I may no better, the truth is I don’t.
If I’ve learned nothing else, as I’ve considered the sharp left turn my life has taken in the last year, it’s that life is hard and it’s hard for everyone. One of my favorite statements is from Scottish author and theologian Ian Maclaren. He’s credited with saying, “Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
It serves no purpose for me to look at someone else’s situation through the lens of what I would do, and wonder how that person could not possibly see what is obvious to me. I don’t know what she is going through right now. I don’t know what past pain she may be carrying that is causing her to respond this way (and the truth is she may not know either…but that’s another conversation). I don’t see how her personality drives her reaction to the moment.
I don’t know.
What I do know is that I can come alongside a person, put my arm around them, and let them know I’m sorry they’re struggling. I can let them know that I will walk their journey with them, if they want me to. I can let them know that I understand life is hard sometimes.
I can let them know I love them.
I’ve lost interest in trying to understand why someone else responds to life’s challenging moments the way they do. I’ve had enough trouble working out why I respond the way I do. What I have grown more interested in is the story people are telling with their lives and what I can do to help them get through whatever they may be facing.
Don’t sit in the press box and second guess the players you’re watching. Get out on the court and let them know you’re with them.