I honestly don’t know why I’m thinking of this right now, but I am. For some reason, lessons from the past (at my expense) are on my mind right now – and these 4 humbling moments from my life experiences always jump to the front of my thoughts. Probably because these taught me the most. Who knows? I will try to be brief.
Back in high school, I played football for a brief period (notice the past tense). I weighed 130 pounds soaking wet and probably had no business out there. I could catch and run and all that, but yeah — being that light and running with the big boys — not so smart.
Anyway, the coach had us line up to do a tackling drill I forget the name of, and he put me with a guy who easily had me by maybe 100 pounds. He told me that I had to get used to taking hits from guys like him – so don’t hold back, and told the other guy that he had to get used to catching little fast guys like me – so don’t hold back.
I may have shared this story on here before (maybe), but I’ve never had a video. After scouring the internet – this 2018 news report from Hawaii is the closest video I could find to the drill in question. Imagine it was like this – at full speed on both ends – only starting from about a 10-yard distance instead of a 20-yard distance (watch this – it’s important for the story)…
As you can imagine from my weight description, that didn’t go so hot. The other guy didn’t tackle me, and I didn’t break his tackle really. We both just collided and literally took each other’s shoulders out (medically speaking). He was off the field for like 2-weeks or so, I was done with the team after that.
And don’t get me wrong – I loved the experience, the team, the coaches, the guy with whom I share a mutual injury story — all of it. And I sincerely have nothing bad to say about it. My parents weren’t angry or anything (imagine if this happened to a kid now and their parents found out). It was football and I wanted to play at a very lightweight compared to my fellow players. I actually came back to practice a few times as I was healing and did one-armed push-ups and cheered on the team and all that, but I knew I had no business out there. If I couldn’t even get through head-up tackling drills without injuries against my friends, imagine me in games.
So, I made the tough call – and I quit.
What I Learned:
Respect your weight class in situations involving physicality. I carry my lessons from that experience into every adult altercation I step into. Just because I “can fight” doesn’t mean I should EVER try to get physically violent with someone who has me by 100 pounds or more. Weight classes exist for a reason.
“No, That’s Not Good”
Later on (this is in my college years), I started a web design company and had clients and everything! I remember being very proud of my work and showing a friend what my sites looked like.
She… was not impressed. In fact, upon seeing her face – I asked outright if something was wrong, and did she feel like I was doing a good job. LOL!
She said something to the effect of, “No, that’s not good,” (flat out) and then proceeded to tell me how she had dated a guy who was really talented and had developed websites for like the military or something and was one of the best web designers in his region of the U.S. She then showed me HER web designs and I was blown away because, yes – mind did in fact suck!
What I Learned:
Keep knowledgeable people in your circle who will tell you the truth. While I later found my happy spot with WordPress, I didn’t really have the chops, interest, or level of dedication to get really good as someone designing websites from scratch. Live and learn, cool kids.
Shut up & Learn
While still in college, I was interning at what would later become my first employer. Another intern wanted to show me and a third intern some progress she had made on her project. I was an energetic little S.O.B., so I kept interrupting her with assumptions and questions. Looking back on it, she was visually annoyed.
The third intern present blew up at me after about 1-minute of my behavior. He looked me dead in the eye and shouted, “Will you shut up?! If you actually listen and let her speak, you just might learn something!”
Did I forget to mention that we were sitting out in an open hallway as others passed by & he DID NOT hold his tone down at all? Yeah. I felt about 2 inches tall at that moment.
And, I mean, what can I say? He was right. That day has stuck with me as the single more abrasive experience I’ve ever had in an office setting, but it was done justifiably (maybe a little overblown — but justified for sure). And it’s likely the most jarring confrontation I’ve had in an office BECAUSE that instance happened.
Sometimes our behaviors need to be checked for our own good.
What I Learned:
I learned to be silent and listen, even when I’m excited. I started actively focusing on observing before reacting. For better or for worse, I’m doing ok in life right now – and I’m positive this embarrassing moment played a part in that. I’m thankful I walked away with a lesson and not just a bruised ego.
A** Out of U and Me
Later on, in my working life … Ha! — I honestly don’t even remember what we were talking about, but I remember I assumed something while speaking to a friend at work. He responded something about that not being right and, as a cherry on top, he said, “When you assume you make an ass out of you and me.” (A play on the spelling of “assume” = Ass+U+Me)
Aside from feeling like it was totally uncalled for as a response at the time, I immediately understood as he stood there looking very satisfied with himself. I just thought, “Damn, jerk,” and kept it moving (while feeling humbled). But I learned something because he was right!
What I Learned:
Do not assume a person’s intent or decisions. Sure, make educated guesses about things that you need to based on the information you have – but assumptions can leave you looking and feeling like an ass, even if you didn’t necessarily mean anything by it.
There are other lessons in Life (with a big “L”), but it’s the little moments like these that shape us (I think). You can react how you want to react to small instances along these lines, I choose to be honest with myself (which can be hard at times) and try to learn.
(PS: The photos selected for this one BARELY had anything to do with the post itself. I just thought this dude’s photos were funny 😂)