The Scoop: Look Back and Laugh

“One of these days, we will look back on all of this and laugh.” – Raymond Mains, “Papaw”

My grandfather, Raymond Mains, or Papaw, as I so affectionately knew him, is the first person that I ever heard give me this advice. He is not the only person to use it, and likely not the first, but it is where I heard it first (and this is my post) so he gets the credit.

My mom reminded me of these words today when we were talking. Papaw used to use them to refer to tough times we may be going through and how funny those times will seem when we come out on the other side of them better off. I also like to think about it in terms of how the things we believe to be so important are really trivial in the grand scheme of things when we really think about them.

In the fall of 2003, I was asked to move to centerfield after being the starting second baseman as a freshman at my college. It was a move that our coach felt was going to improve our team even though I had not played outfield regularly since eighth grade. He told me that I had all fall to get accustomed to it, and to use it as a learning tool, not a measuring stick.

Well, I think I probably turned in the worst defensive centerfield performance of any outfielder in the nation that fall. It was not like riding a bike. I lost balls in the sun, I misjudged routine fly balls, I struggled to track balls over my head, and I took bad angles on balls in the gaps. Overall at the end of the fall, I felt pretty dejected, and as if I had played myself out of any starting job.

As I went into my post-fall individual meeting, I had no idea what to expect and was actually expecting the worst. Coach started by telling me that I was still going to be the starting centerfielder and that he was pleased with my progress throughout the fall. (Clearly, he was not watching the same performance I was giving.) Then, he says to me, “one of these days, we will look back in all of this and laugh.”

What he did in that moment was give me exactly what my performance had lacked all fall–confidence. He freed me up to forget the negative feelings that I had and just go play. He reminded me of all the good moments that I had and believed in more good ones to come since I had come through this tough time better off.

One of my proudest moments as a player came when I was recognized by my teammates at the end of that year as the Defensive Player of the Year. Coach and Papaw were right. As I received the award, all I could do was laugh knowing where I had come from to get there. Coach was also right about the move being best for the team as we won a school record 33 games and made the NCAA Regional Final (the best finish by a team in school history).

We may be going through some tough times in our lives. Things may not be going quite as well as we want them to. We may not be giving a performance we know we are capable of.

My advice for you is to keep plugging away. Find something, someone, or some way to give yourself some confidence. Things are not as bad as they seem. Once you are through the trying times and all the dust has settled, enjoy a nice laugh because you will be better off and more good times will be ahead.

Bring your best today!

Love, Noah

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