Why I Don’t Like the “C” Word

June 15, 2011

I do not like the word choke and think it is one of the most over-used words in sports today.  Did Lebron James choke?  Did the Vancouver Canucks as a team choke?   If you strike out in the bottom of the 9th with the bases loaded and the score tied, did you choke?  Did Rory McIlroy choke at the Masters?  Will someone playing in the US Open this weekend choke?  Maybe.  Maybe the answer is yes or maybe the answer is no.  There is no real way to know.  There are just a lot of people on the sidelines or announcing that think they know what is in someone’s head when most have never had the talent to step into the arena, put it all on the line, give it a go and see what happens.

I have to be honest. I have had opportunity in the past for achievement and not always performed my best.  A few times you might even say I choked.  But a couple of times I did everything I could and it just wasn’t meant to be.  It happens. Sports are tough!  Sometimes there are bad breaks.  Sometimes you wake up and everything is different.  You get out of your routine or something just feels a little off.  Are these things a sign of choking or just stuff that happens when you play a game?  Clearly, I have been nervous and have messed up sometimes.  But if feeling nervous is a sign of choking then how do you explain all of the times I was nervous and was able to perform.  I was almost always nervous before every round I played. Did I choke each time?  Of course not!

No one but the player knows what is really happening out there.  Just because someone doesn’t perform up to the standards we are used to doesn’t mean that they choke.  Superstars are superstars because they make what is really tough look pretty easy.  We love the clutch player.  We love Michael Jordan hitting game winning jumpers or Tiger Woods making a 15 footer on 18 at Torrey Pines to tie for the lead.  But what happens if he misses?  Did he choke? Is he a choker now?  Its seems the only people who are called chokers are the ones right there at the end.  The ones that have gotten to the point where they can hit that clutch shot, make that key save, throw that TD pass or get the game winning hit.  The ones that didn’t make it that far are at home or watching on TV.

I remember someone saying that playing in the last group of a golf tournament was like playing naked.  It was all out there for everyone to see.  So if you are watching the US Open this weekend or watching a baseball game or you watched the Stanley Cup final, before you listen to an announcer talk about choking, think about how hard that person has worked to be in that position.  And maybe they are “choking” But maybe, just maybe what they are doing is really tough and there is only one champion and everyone else goes home.  And the true definition of a winner is someone who is willing to put it all on the line and see what happens even if he might be called a choker.

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One Response to “Why I Don’t Like the “C” Word”

  1. Norma Barrett Says:

    you’re good. loved this one. I still say you should look into classes and further develop this skill. xxoo


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