On a recent shopping trip with my daughter to one of our favorite home decorating stores I found myself in the baseball décor section snapping photos of all the inspirational thoughts eloquently painted on cheap pressed board. I’m drawn to these kinds of pick-me-up quotes that seem so transformative when I read them but exit my memory when I’m struggling in the pit.
One of the signs said, “No Excuses. Play Like a Champion.”
I immediately wanted this one on my wall. I really dislike it when people offer excuses instead of completing a task. We can all come up with excuses on why we are late, can’t make an appointment, didn’t make it to an event or didn’t get the job finished on time. I think I know every excuse because I’ve heard them come out of my mouth at one time or another. This is probably why I have little patience for others who offer their excuses to me.
Two months ago, I was driving down the highway in Ohio, chatting with my passenger and noticed those pretty red and blue lights in my rear-view mirror. When the no-fluff state trooper came up to my window he simply said he stopped me for speeding, asked me for my documents and a few minutes later delivered my citation and told me where to pay it. He didn’t ask if I knew why he stopped me. He didn’t ask why I was speeding. He didn’t offer to reduce the clocked speed. I didn’t even have a chance to come up with an excuse or work up some tears, he just gave me the ticket and drove on.
I was guilty. There was no need for an excuse. I paid my debt and learned my lesson.
While we may not always come out with the championship trophy, if we play like a champion, we won’t need any excuses. When you’ve given the endeavor your best shot, that feeling of regret doesn’t haunt you near as much as if you knew you could have worked harder. There’s nothing quite like those painful pangs of emptiness when you came up short because you didn’t play like a champion.
Right across the aisle was an equally appealing sign that said, “Live by grace, not perfection.” This was the sign that ended up on my wall. Mostly because in my quest to accomplish my day to day work, I need to remember to extend grace to others instead of expecting perfection. While I don’t like excuses, there is this reality called life and free will and sometimes it happens without our input or control.
Maybe I need to make my own sign, “Be a Champion- Extend Grace.”