For those that know me, they know that I am hardly the jock type. I can enjoy a game of hockey and will even spend good money to go to the odd NHL game. However, I am far from being a die-hard fan and knowing all of the names and statistics of every soccer, hockey or NFL hero. Last night was another reminder of this.
Last night I was at a poker game with a number of guys from my street (not sports but still a macho thing to do on a Saturday night I suppose). It was my first poker game with this group and so I was a little apprehensive about the mix of people – after all we got together because we live on the same street and not because we really knew each other or even considered ourselves friends. The evening went pretty well with the help of a few laughs, beer, chips and pizza.
What didn’t go well was when the dreaded sports conversations that started like “who made the draft?” or “did you see what *whatshisname* did at the Stamps game yesterday?” etc. When conversation turns to sports I tune out. I sit there, smile, nod and generally try to look interested. I wonder if I said “I tried this awesome Thai recipe the other day” would get as much attention??? I am sure no one at the table even knew or cared if I didn’t speak up and join in the conversation however I found myself sinking in my chair and feeling inadequate because I didn’t know some of these basic male rules of engagement.
So what is the solution? How can I live positively in this situation again? The solution is one I have been working to master for a long time. It all comes down to CHOICE. CHOICE to react to that situation – to feel ‘inadequate’, ‘sink in my chair’, ‘tune out’ or CHOICE to not react but participate (or accept) where I am presently. I can “CHOOSE” to join in conversation and perhaps even throw in a new conversational tangent for the group to engage in.
Last night when I sank in my chair, tuned out and generally disassociated myself from the group, I choose to react negatively to the situation. I let my own reaction to the situation control me and paralyse me from being me. When I am in the moment, insights like these are difficult to cultivate but keeping them top of mind will eventually win out and overcome the habit to react – I learnt this from my coach – not my hockey coach but my life coach :).