Getting to the World Series or any championship in sports is very difficult. For an athlete, losing is looked at poorly, so when that happens the reaction helps define one’s character. The immediate reaction may not be a true indicator of the type of character, but usually over time many athletes accept what happened win or lose, and are able to use that as motivation.
Looking at the events of Game 3 of the World Series between the Red Sox and the Cardinals, it is easy to see how the reaction for Boston players would be poor and confused. In case you did not see it, after an out was made at home plate, Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamaccia made an errant throw to third base and the ball got away from Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks. When Cardinals first baseman Allen Craig attempted to run home, he tripped over Middlebrooks and was awarded a run despite being thrown out at the plate on a close play. The call was obstruction and even if there was no intent to trip, the way the rule reads is that it would be obstruction anyways. Run awarded and Cardinals win. Part of the game.
Red Sox players were angry, sure that they were robbed and that the game could not end that way. On the biggest stage plays like that are under an even bigger spotlight. What this shows is how we handle things as human beings and what are the best ways to deal with situations like this, not only as an athlete, but simply as a person? Red Sox manager John Farrell seemed to do the best job of accepting what happened, which is likely why he is the manager. The ability to accept things that have occurred is the best way to not only move on, but make any necessary changes and minimize your stress level.
The initial reactions of the Red Sox players were blaming of the refs for a poor call, justifying the possible trip at third and trying to rationalize the entire situation. It is easy to understand that in the moment the expectation of these reactions and behaviors not happening are slim. The need to change perception is imperative in order to not let moments like these linger. After a brief argument, the call stood (rightfully) and the game ended. There is no longer anything that could have been done. However, people tend to carry that reaction, the anger and frustration to others, creating a story to continue to justify their negative emotions. This leads to increased stress, lack of sleep, poor mood regulation and can affect interpersonal skills and possibly preparation for the upcoming activities. In this example, these are professional athletes playing at the highest level, so part of that is being able to move on from moments like this. This could easily be transferred to anyone in the course of a day when it comes to dealing with moments of adversity.
Being able to assess things that happen and develop a plan to make change is the best way to deal with any adversity, however that is a difficult concept if there is not acceptance of the events that occurred. Many times it does not matter who is at fault. Focusing on that aspect only increases anger and stress and minimizes the opportunity to see a solution.
My guess is that Farrell will discuss this with the Red Sox players and they will be able to see and refocus in order to play to the highest level in game 4. Applying these skills takes time, work and assistance from others, but anyone can change their perception. Think of all the time that can be saved when you are able to move on from a perceived negative event and begin to focus on how to make things better. These are steps to better daily mental health.