The best way to respond to challenges.

Woodson's 100th-Career Point Helps Goucher Men's Lacrosse Ground Flying Dutchmen And Leap To 9-7 WinAarrgghh! The NCAA sports for spring have been canceled. While for many that is no big deal, in my family with an NCAA athlete it is.

My son, Matt, plays lacrosse at a small Division III college and he has had a pretty big roller coaster ride of a career through his four years.

His first year was marred by an injury in the summer prior to school starting. He was playing club lacrosse and blew out his right knee. He had to have surgery and rehab which caused him to miss the first part of the spring season. And although he was able to finally get in and play a good bit towards the end of the season, it was an inauspicious start to say the least.

His second year was a banner year. He played very well and got several honors. In his conference, he was named one of the players of the week during the season as well as being named all-conference first team for leading the league in assists and helping his team to the playoffs. A great year.

When the next season began, we were so excited, and it started with a bang. He was named player of the week early on and then set a school record for assists in a single game. Things were going well above expectations when tragedy struck. A wrong turn, a bad plant of the foot, and POP, the left knee gave way and the season was over. So much promise down the drain. Another surgery and more rehab followed with tremendous doubt, depression, and questioning. I can’t say how many times I heard, “do I really want to play again and risk more damage?” To make it even more difficult, during the end-of-season team party, he was named as a captain of the team for what would be his final season.

After a long off-season, Matt decided to work hard and come back to play in his last hurrah. With a new found passion and abandon in playing the game with joy for the love of the game, Matt shone brightly. In the first 7 games he was named conference player of the week two weeks in a row, a rare feat indeed. He also had five straight games with at least 3 goals and 2 assists, also a rare feat. The season was looking to be a best ever and potentially an all-American performance when, again, things went rock bottom. The universe, a universe that I am beginning to think has a beef with my son, decided to develop a global health crisis which shut down NCAA sports and all hope of a glorious end to a lacrosse career begun at 5 years old.

So what’s the point you may wonder. Why the long tale? Well, it’s this. When the disappointing news came of cutting the season short, my son had the following words, “At least I went out on a high note!” It was perfect and so positive. His optimism was and is inspiring. I know I have not been so kind in my remarks. I have cursed everybody from the Easter Bunny to Santa Claus not to mention the universe (sorry everybody). But my son, no, he goes on knowing that there is nothing he can do about it and that there are others who have much more challenging issues and in many cases life-or-death issues.

Here’s the rub. When confronted with the day-to-day or even the sideswiping, disruptive challenges that get thrown your way (think: Covid19 for example), what is your response? Is it optimism or pessimism? What do your family members see from you? What do your co-workers see from you? We all have a chance to inspire others … to greatness or to despair. Think about your response to the challenges. Who and how will you inspire? Take a lesson from Matt, go out on a high note.

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