Explore Life Coaching, Patti Phillips

Feeding the Gremlin

So tonight I coached a high school girls’ basketball game. The girls played incredible hard, with lots of heart, and an extremely positive attitude. It was amazing to me that these young people could maintain their composure and I felt like I was ready to explode. Now, I guess it’s normal for a losing coach to feel like the reffing wasn’t good and that it contributed to the loss. But, to be honest, I really didn’t expect to win the game, although I certainly didn’t rule out the possibility. So losing wasn’t what released the gremlin in me.

In the first few seconds of the game the ref missed an obvious call, which I pointed out to him and he was not happy and warned me to not question the calls. This was the latch on the gremlin’s  cage being opened. Through the course of the game, the calls seemed lop-sided in favour of the other team. The gremlin was getting anxious and hungry. What really made the gremlin burst out the cage was my helplessness to protect my girls from harm. They were knocked to the floor, hit from behind, and pushed around. Of course they survived and will learn much about basketball and life from the experience.

Here was my lesson. After the game, I talked to everyone in the gym who wanted to share the same opinion with me. I talked to my co-coach, I talked to other coaches who were watching, and I talked to parents. We were all upset and we really fed each other’s gremlins. It was on my drive home, still nurturing this gremlin of negativity with my thoughts, that it occurred to me what I was doing. The game was over, the girls were really fine, and nothing could be done so I just decided to stop feeding the gremlin. I repeated to myself about 10 times “STOP FEEDING THE GREMLIN” and the frustration within me started to dissipate. Within ten minutes, the gremlin no longer had the energy to have an impact on me and it was contained again.

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