Saturday, February 18, 2006

Lindsey's Song: The Fine Art of Screwing Up

First a prediction for Lindsey Jacobellis, the snowboarder who celebrated too soon with a needless showboat move and fell down, costing her a gold medal: Life will go on, but you may lose the "Lucky" nickname. Somewhere a columnist will dust off the old reversal about snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, and there’s nothing you can do. The only question left is how you handle it. Will you rise above it or will it significantly harm your ability to enjoy life? One recommendation: You might try to laugh it off. Oh sure, apologize for letting down your country, your coach, your corporate sponsors or whatever, but I'd recommend holding a press conference where you joke about it. I really would. Try and define your reaction for the press before they define it for you.
Remember, you are still young and cute as hell so don't waste too much time moping.
Now, on to the incident itself. Maybe I should put this in snowboarder-ese: “Dude, she was having a rad run down a really gnarly course and she just got so stoked about the gold that she wiped out.” Wait, that sounds like a stoned surfer. Why even pretend I’m in touch with today’s youth culture?
There is one thing I have remained in touch with: The Fine Art of Screwing Up - a healthy respect for the life-altering mistake. The Vice President paid a little visit to this zone last week. In fact, he landed in Category 1. Once you get past anybody getting hurt, etc, you're in Category #2. This is the category where your own family gets a little mad at you, and they won't forget. 25 years from now when Lindsey's family is arguing over Thanksgiving dinner, someone will say, “That’s the same attitude that cost you the gold medal for celebrating too soon back in 2006.” She will wince, just as she will wince about it everyday for the next few months - till it becomes a permanent part of her psyche. Embrace it, Lindsey. I'm sorry but you own it now. It is you. Still, someday take a little pride, for as screw-ups go, this was about as high profile as you can get, unless you're Vice President. This was special.
I’m not a huge Chris Weber fan but after he blew the NCAA basketball championships by calling a time out when his team didn’t have one, he went on to form the Time Out Foundation to help kids. That’s the right approach. Try turning the pain into something good.
So in Lindsey's honor, here's an actual snowboard quote from one of the sites with actual lingo from the youth of today: "I can't hate on her for it. I would have threw the method, too." Dude, I totally agree.
One last thing: To the corporations that bet on this young lady to carry your company’s image to the gold medal? I couldn’t be more delighted for you. I just wish I could be at the meeting Monday morning when you talk it over.


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