This is my personal truth.
The rugby world cup has started again which makes for some pretty interesting times in our home. To see how excited we all get whilst watching the game would probably have most people rolling on the floor with laughter. Yet, we take the sport of spectatorship really serious – well, some of us more seriously than others.
I took a moment to reflect on this from a different angle today and realized how this entire phenomenon of the spectator vs the player plays out in our every-day lives.
First there are the players. The people who are IN the game. The ones who are committed to achieving their goals, winning in their lives. It is a disciplined life where sacrifices are made. Sometimes you have to say no to the parties that everybody else is going to. Most days you have to get up early and drag your ass out of bed to train, to plan, to work, to do what needs to be done. There are sore bodies to deal with. Everybody gets injured along the way. And you know that no matter how much you train, no matter how much you learn, no matter how much you prepare, winning is not guaranteed. It all comes down to the day. You learn to pray. You learn to give it your all. You learn to deal with pain, with aching lungs. You learn to deal with disappointment. Because sometimes you don’t see the gap, or you miss the ball, or you aim in the wrong direction. And if you don’t win today, you will go back, get up earlier, train harder, get a new game plan, and try again. You will ask for the input from the spectators, to show you what you have missed, where you can do better, and you will incorporate all relevant feedback into your game plan. Whether in rugby, running, marriage, or business – you are a player.
Then there are spectators. The people who only watch the game. Sometimes they are experts at the rules – knowing exactly how the game should be played in order to win. They have a birds eye view and can see the gaps which players sometimes miss. They are pumped full of adrenaline and jump up and down – cheering and jeering all the time. They praise the wins and curse the losses. They can be unforgiving because they have forgotten what it feels like to have your muscles screaming and your lungs burning as you give it your all, but that is not enough today. They get swept up in the energy of the crowd, and sweep up those around them. Sometimes unforgiving, the spectators expect those they back to win at all cost! To play perfectly every day, every time. And if you don’t win today, they expect you to go back, to get up earlier, to train harder, to get a new game plan and to do better next time. They will go home and continue sleeping in and wait for the next game so they can watch, support and criticize. Whether in rugby, running, marriage, or business – these are the spectators.
Thing is, there can be no game without players and spectators. But have you ever noticed how few players there are compared to spectators? Some of us choose to be both. In my life I am always the player, but I have chosen the role of spectator as a coach to give my clients my birds eye view. To teach them the rules as I understand them. To provide them feedback on lost opportunities and what they can try differently next time. Being a player as well, I can do this with compassion. Because I still hurt, my muscles still scream, my lungs still burn. I still play. And I welcome the input of other players taking on the role of spectators! Because these are the people who not only know the rules, but who knows that winning the game is all about mind-set. And mind-set is not understood if you only live in the stands.
So what are you? Are you a player or a spectator? And more importantly, does this choice serve to create a life that will leave others in awe at your magnificence?
Is it time to get off the stand and on to the playing field?
Walk with honor.