Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Emotional Locomotive

National Rugby League club, Cronulla Sharks set an unenviable record last week in their 0-26 loss. It was the third consecutive match in which they had not been able to score a point. No team had ever done that before. Imagine going out to play your next match with that record on your mind. Early in the second half of the subsequent game which they played away from home against a much more highly rated team, the Sharks were behind 0-22. It was clearly a case of de-ja-vu.

As they ran out on to the ground to start the match, were the players hopeful? Or did they expect to lose? Were they thinking that regardless of their effort, they would be defeated? As their opponents racked up points against them, did what little hope they might have had, perish in the fire of reality? Did the players still believe they could win that match, or did they give up? 

It has been said that sport, any sport, is mostly played in the mind. Attitude impacts significantly on performance. Many games are won or lost before they have even been played. This is true of life. Our emotions want to run our lives, and for better or worse, we often succumb to their demands. Our heads might shout loud statements of logic but our feelings block our ears with stubborn stupidity, and insist that their way is right. 

Sometimes, the supremacy of emotion works in our favour. Positive feelings can empower us, and provide strength to do what the head says we should. Our feelings can help us, inspire us and inspire others. Negative feelings can, on the other hand, cripple us. Feelings can be nearly impossible to control. Have you ever tried to tell yourself to cheer up when you feel depressed? Ever tried to tell yourself to calm down when you are angry? We are not robots, and yet we have this sense that our feelings are not the most reliable of advisers. Emotions should be the caboose, not the locomotive of our trains. We risk running off the tracks when we are led by our hearts instead of our heads, and yet this is how we live: fragile, broken humanity feigning total control when the truth is we are quite helpless.

The Sharks battled their demons of doubt, their feelings of inadequacy, their frustration and the sense of inevitability that the scoreline delivered to them. The final score was 24-22. This victory by the Sharks was easily the most inspirational moment of my week. What has inspired you recently?

Photographs courtesy of

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