For those of you that are Chicago Bears fans, this past Sunday was a heart breaker for sure. With little time left in the game, Cody Parkey hit the uprights and the Bears lost the game. My family was furious. They yelled at Cody, aka the television, begging the Bears to get rid of him as he was responsible for the loss. As passionate as they all were about the Bears winning, I can’t say I agreed.
It was a very close game and with my limited football knowledge, the Bears weren’t playing their best. It was a tight game the whole way, some poor passes, catches and yes, a bad call by a referee. Even one of the color commentators noted, “They’re making up the rules as they go.” Not what you want to hear when you’re losing. So, Corey misses the kick and all hell breaks loose, people are furious and blaming the kicker.
Sure, Corey Parkey missed, and yes, he’s a paid professional for which we expect more. But let’s be clear, even professionals miss. Quarterbacks throw interceptions, false starts cause a loss of much needed yardage and on and on, it happens. Truth be told, whether it’s personal or professional, failure happens. The outcome is the true test of a professional, how they handle it. Do they make excuses or own it? Do they commit themselves to training more, working on their skill more? It’s a learning opportunity plain and simple. Even for fans, stifle yourselves. Yes, yes, team loyalty gets the best of us, but Parkey was getting death threats, really? At the end of the day, you can tell a lot about someone’s character when they fail.
Adam Russo, author of, Unwritten Rules: Real Strategies to Parent Your Child into a Successful Adult, believes strongly that failure is a healthy part of learning, regardless of how tough the failure. ‘When we fail, the best thing to do is hold ourselves accountable.’ Cody Parkey could have easily said he made three previous kicks in the game and couldn’t be expected to be perfect. He did the right thing by taking responsibility without excuses.
The most important part of failure is not to let it define you, but to learn what must be different moving forward. Russo adds, “No one is ever perfect, but we want to be perfect in the times that count. Michael Jordan missed game winning shots, Mariano Rivera blew Game 7 saves, and they are still considered among the best in their respective sports. The only way forward for Cody Parkey is not allowing his setback to define his future.”
Although failure sucks, it does instruct. We can learn so much through our failures. We can also learn a lot about others when we fail. In the words of past Bears coach, Mike Ditka, “You’re never a loser until you quit trying.”
I noticed after Parkey missed the kick and his head was hanging down, one of his teammates came up, picked him up, put his around him and likely gave him sage advice, “It happens. It’s tough but it happens to all of us.” Yes, we certainly expect more out of our professional athletes, but perfection doesn’t exist and failure is one of the greatest teachers.