Don’t Panic

KC Blog PicLife just really sucks sometimes.  Yes, let’s start right there.  Let’s just dive right in and get to the heart of things.  Sometimes you’re just plugging along in life, hopeful for the future, anticipating the good things to come, and then, bam! The crap hits the fan and bits of poop particles are hurtling hard and fast in multiple directions all around you.  You can’t tell left from right, up from down, and you’re just sitting there in the middle of a crap storm wondering who flipped  the “on” button.

Although I’m a pretty chill person even in instances of crisis, there are times when life throws you into a crap tornado and the ferocity of the storm causes you to think and react in ways that defy logic.   Shortly before my most recent F-5, I became irrational, overemotional, and irritable because I could feel the wind kicking up and the pressure of an oncoming storm weighed heavily on me.  When the tornado finally touched down, I was thrown violently in a million directions as emotional debris hit me on all sides and tore me apart.  I could feel the life being rapidly sucked out of me and there was nothing I could do to stop it from happening.

Since I am fortunate enough to have not experienced many F-5 moments in my lifetime, I quickly needed to figure out ways to cope.  Over the next few weeks (although weeks felt like years) I did everything I could to deal with the aftermath of the tornado: I sought advice and prayer from loved ones, exercised, drank and/or ate my feelings (sometimes I couldn’t eat or drink at all), and did whatever I could to restore normalcy to my life.  But none of these coping methods seemed to do me much good until one day when I was brave enough to delve back into the world of baseball (side note: baseball is an integral part of my tornado which is why it took some courage to step back up to the plate).

My magic moment occurred when I came across an article about the Kansas City Royals .  In short, the piece talked about a recent rough patch the winners of the 2015 World Series have been experiencing in this new season.  When asked about the struggle his team was going through, General Manager Ned Yost, seemingly void of stress, replied, “I mean, it’s easy,  because we’ve gone through this before. We went through it last September, when we went like 10-18 in a very crucial part of our season. We were trying to get home field advantage, and we struggled for most of the month.”  According to the author of the article, this streak of difficulty Yost referred to happened right before the Royals went on to win the World Series.  Struggle proceeded glory.

Yost later went on to say in the article about his team, “It’s a group that doesn’t panic. They’ve stayed very calm, even through this little rough streak that we’ve gone through. And when you do that, you break out of it quicker.”

Staying calm and not panicking doesn’t necessarily guarantee you a win in life of World Series proportions (maybe it will…. hopefully it will), but it will break you out of a storm that much faster (You know, this information would’ve been quite helpful when the updraft of my F-5 was turning into a supercell.  Pretty sure I did everything but stay calm.  Geez.).

I soon learned after a storm hits and the winds begin to settle, a period of recovery and rebuilding takes place.  You’re still muddling through debris, tending to wounds, and attempting to figure out where to start the clean up process so that you can move forward.  And sometimes accomplishing small tasks such as remembering how to breathe or function like a normal human being during the search and rescue period can prove to be more difficult than being caught up in the initial storm.

Fortunately, a couple of the mighty Royals have some insight on search and recovery efforts:

Salvador Perez, catcher for the Royals and World Series MVP, was quoted in the article, “We’re not doing great right now, but that’s part of the game, ” he said. “So we just need to keep coming to the ballpark, playing hard, and it’ll take care of itself. We don’t have to feel like we don’t know how to do this. We’ll come to the park, play hard, and we’ll start to win. It’ll happen.”

Left-fielder Alex Gordon echoed this sentiment about the importance of showing up to the game day in and day out and letting the chips fall where they may.  “Whether you played good the night before or bad, you come back the next day with the same attitude,”says Gordon.

Although talking specifically about baseball, Perez and Gordon highlighted some key points about storm survival and recovery.  Perez acknowledged that “not doing great” is part of the game, you don’t have to have it all figured out, but eventually, as you keep showing up to play, you will start to win.

Gordon’s quote proved there are good and bad days when enduring a storm but to just continue to play with a calm and steady attitude.  In other words, do your best to focus, stay in the game, and give yourself grace for the bad days and praise for the good.

There have been so many times over the past month or so when I just didn’t know what to do.  The storm and its aftermath can be overwhelming and you just want to curl up in the dugout and hope that when you emerge everything will be as it was, untouched by gale force winds and perfectly in place.  Unfortunately, life doesn’t always work out that way.  You are required to put on your helmet, grab a bat, and keep swinging.

The good news is that storms, though sometimes devastating, are temporary and usually survivable.  And according to the magnificent Royals, the key to breaking out of a tough streak is to stay calm, acknowledge the good days and the bad, and just do everything you know to do to keep playing the game.

“It’s experience that you fall back on.  I won’t do anything differently.  You start doing things differently, and you prolong your inability to break out of whatever streak you’re in. So you keep your same routines, you keep your same mindset, you just say steady as it goes  until they break out,” Yost said.

Storms will come in your life – it’s inevitable.  They might not all be of the F-5 persuasion, but the winds are sure to kick up and throw your world into a whirlwind.  And when the upheaval comes, remember the Royals: don’t panic, find your focus, stay steady, maintain hope, keep showing up to the game, and eventually you will win.