I Refuse to Manage My Expectations

The Huskers have a new football coach.  As the news was officially leaked, likely a day earlier than the University and the coach himself had wanted,  the state went crazy.  Weeks, months, years of frustration seemed to melt away in an instant.  The Nebraska kid who made good was coming home.  I was giddy.  And almost immediately I was reminded that I should “manage my expectations.”

It will likely take time to return Nebraska to its historical glory.  Recruiting may still be a challenge.  After all, despite evidence to the contrary this week, it gets really cold here in the winter.  After all, this season was less than a success in the wins and losses category.  After all, next year will be about rebuilding, and there is hard work to be done.

But still, I refuse to manage my expectations!

I choose to believe that amazing things are about to happen.  I choose to believe that a new coaching staff will find the magic, and in no time at all the Huskers will be a powerhouse.  I choose to see the best possible future for Scott Frost and his staff, for the student-athletes who are working so hard to find success on the field, and for the fans who admittedly care maybe too much about our football team.

I refuse to manage my expectations!

We choose each day how we view the world.  We can be pragmatic.  We can evaluate the pros and cons, weigh the many options, and then choose the safest course.  We can manage our expectations of others and try to manage their expectations of us.  And if I’m being honest, there are times when each of those is necessary and smart.

But for the most part, I choose to believe that in any given situation the best possible outcome is the one that will come to be.  I choose to believe that rather than managing my expectations, I should actually raise my expectations.  I should expect the most for myself and for those around me.  And I should expect the most from myself and from those around me.

Will I be disappointed sometimes?  Of course.  That’s life.  But the disappointment will be hard whether I anticipated it or not.  Why not choose to believe that things will work out?

I am not suggesting we ignore reality, bury our head in the sand, or forget that in most cases it is our actions that create our best possible future.  When we set high expectations, we also have to agree to do the hard work.  But why not choose to believe that we are about to find the magic?

Mr. Irrelevant

Anyone who regularly reads this blog knows that I love football.  Being on the sidelines during a high school football game is one of my favorite ways to spend a Friday night, but I have honestly never paid much attention to anything about football in the spring. So I have learned some new things this week.

I like tweet after tweet throughout the year as our student athletes sign to play with the college of their choice.  The pictures are as diverse as the students, but there is a common look on the face of them all.  Excitement.  Pride. Anticipation.  It is the culmination of years of hard work, years of practice, years of preparation.  Many of them have been dreaming of this moment since they first stepped onto a court or a field or a track.  They made it.

This week we watched that same moment for college football players.  The NFL Draft is quite a show, but beyond the spectacle, at its heart, it is no different from that moment when a high school senior snaps a picture with that college shirt and hat.  There is the same common look on their face.  Excitement.  Pride. Anticipation.  This is the culmination of years of hard work, years of practice, years of preparation.  Many of them have been dreaming of this moment since they first stepped onto a football field.  They made it.

And then I learned about Mr. Irrelevant.

I know, how on earth have I not heard of this before?  But I had not.  A friend told me to do a little research on Mr. Irrelevant.  He actually thought it would make a great blog, and he was right!

For those of you who, like me, are not as versed in this ridiculous “award”, it is the person selected last in the Draft. Kelvin Kirk in 1976 was named the first Mr. Irrelevant when he was selected as the 487th pick in that Draft.  This year Chad Kelly “won” the “award.”

There are summer trips, golf tournaments, real perks to being named Mr. Irrelevant.   There is a trophy…of a player fumbling a ball.

I get it.  It’s fun.  Clever idea.  But irrelevant?  Really?

Children all over the country want that moment.  They watch the Draft (or the Oscars or the Nobel Prize Ceremony) and dream of the day they will be on that stage.  They wake up hours before their friends, push harder than imaginable, and persevere through loss and rejection and injury to reach for that moment.  And almost none of them make it.

Chad Kelly made it.  Every player picked last in the Draft, every year, was picked in the Draft.  Imagine that!  How many others wish it had been them, even in the last round with the last pick.

We are all picked last.  We all have moments when we fail to set our personal record.  We all have days when we fail to do as well as wanted to do.  But we ran the race, or we finished the work.  How many people out there want to do what we do?

We do not have to have the biggest house.  We do not have to have the fastest time.  We do not have to be the number one pick to be relevant.

We are all relevant.