On Celebrating

While watching my beloved Phillies celebrate their victory over the Reds in the divisional series all I could think was…. really?!  Goggles, champagne, and a plastic tarp covered clubhouse for winning the divisional series?  It isn’t exactly the World Series, but they seemed to act it.  It kind of seemed like a bit of an over-celebration and waste of perfectly good champagne.

Yesterday, my wife and I celebrated an anniversary for which they don’t make Hallmark cards.  It was a modest affair, but filled with much joy and it certainly created memories that would last a lifetime.  Perhaps celebrations should not be limited to the World Series?

A handful of years ago I heard Ralph Vernacchia share how he ended a series of adult mental skills classes with a cake and “graduation ceremony.”  Sure seems like a lot of hub-bub over some adults that might have learned a bit more about how to be a bit more positive in the face of adversity.  Yet, Dr. Vernacchia took a moment to highlight how a cake and a ceremony is important to acknowledge one’s efforts, further instill lessons into memory, and to signify a transition onto the next challenge.  Celebrations can be expressions of joy, but they can also be much more.

It ought to leave you wondering if enough time is taken to celebrate the little things in sports.  The things that seem a bit ho-hum.  Quite simply, celebrating when things are as they should be.  Plenty of time is taken filling one’s self full of consternation over mistakes in practice or competition.  Coaches can be fervent teachers, critiquing minutia here and the mental errors there.  Yet, is equal effort or emotion spent on celebrating execution of “the basics.”  The foundations of success happen quite often… do we celebrate them or take them for granted?

When the youth hockey player makes the simple tape to tape pass, is a moment taken to acknowledge it?  When the shortstop fields the ball cleanly and fires it crisply to first base, does a thought of “nice work” drift into one’s head?  When the rower drops the oar cleanly into the water, does a burst of pride arise?  Is the ordinary athletic achievement celebrated as much as the minor mistake is criticized?

Is the ordinary athletic achievement celebrated as much as the minor mistake is criticized?

Champagne and goggles aren’t necessary.  Just a little acknowledgment every now and then goes a long way towards building positive memories and harnessing empowering emotions… things that are useful to draw upon when the competition is heated.

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1 Response to “On Celebrating”


  1. 1 Dean S October 19, 2010 at 11:57 am

    Positive attentions goes much further than negative criticism.


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