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When a ball becomes “foul”

August 25, 2011

"No big deal. The guy isn't even on first base yet."

Remember in October 2003 when the Cubs were “5 outs from the World Series” and a foul ball was launched down the left field line and Moises Alou collided with a fan (Steve Bartman) and the ball dropped harmlessly to the ground.  Alou and the whole Cub Nation went nuts.  OMG, this might be the beginning of blowing the series.  In fact, after a combination of errors, walks and hits the series was blown.

So, what happened?  I think what really happened was there was an overreaction to a small problem and it quickly escalated into a crisis.  What would have happened if Moises Alou had laughed off the incident and high-fived Bartman instead of going crazy?  I think things would have been much different.  The Cubs would not have fallen victim to the “sky is falling” mentality that helped shape the subsequent plays.

As fathers, our reactions to small storms can determine whether we calm the waters or incite a tsunami.  The obvious answer is that we should remain calm in a storm and thus have the waters go placid.  This can be tricky when our emotions get involved.  When our children, do things that embarrass or anger us, (misbehave, get suspended, get poor grades, say something dumb, disobey) it is easy to “go Moises Alou on them”.

But, here’s the question:  How does that work when we go crazy?  We might feel a certain catharsis after yelling and screaming, but how does it effect the long term relationship with our kids?  I think the answer is that it usually hurts our relationship with our kids.

When there is a storm, our kids turn to us for reassurance and security.  When we remain calm, there is a sense that everything is going to be OK.  When we go nuts, the situation usually escalates and spirals out of control.  So, stand tall, be strong and stay calm and our kids will benefit and the Cubs might not be talking about a one hundred year World Series drought.

Patrick Donohue is a Life Coach in Oak Park, IL.  Contact him at:

One Comment leave one →
  1. Matt Davis permalink
    August 25, 2011 10:54 am

    Good words Pat. However, painful memories of 03 are stirring again in my mind.

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