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When Life Hands You A Lemon

Story ID:6396
Written by:Nancy J. Kopp (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:Manhattan KS USA
Year:2010
Person:Nancy Kopp
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An air of excitement hit our community last week. A University townsí emotional temperature ebbs and flows with the significance of a football game. Hard to understand for those who donít follow college football or live in a university atmosphere, but believe me, itís true. I could feel it in the air as I went out my normal weekly routine.

Kansas State would be host on Thursday evening to Nebraska, a football powerhouse for many years. They had a few down years in the recent past, but now theyíre right back in the Top Ten in the nation. Big game for us!

This would be the final time Nebraska came to town as a member of the Big 12 conference. They elected to jump ship and accept an invitation to play in the Big 10 conference beginning in 2011. Here was a last chance for us to beat them. Big game for us!

Stir in the factor of playing on national TV on ESPN where a huge TV audience would see our team and we make it even more significant. Big game for us!

Add one more ingredient to this recipe for a K-State win. Game Day was also our coachís birthday. What a gift his players could give him with a win. Big game for us!

All the anticipation, all the big dreams, all the confidence K-State players and fans had deflated like a purple balloon poked with a pin. The mighty Nebraska defense was too much for us. The Nebraska quarterback had his way with our defense. The speed of the Nebraska players couldnít be matched by ours. It started out badly and our team could never recover. That big game turned into a disaster on national TV.

We left the stadium feeling disappointed, frustrated, and maybe even a bit angry. It was hard to walk by the many Nebraska fans, who were cheering and even jeering. Iím quite certain the K-State players felt all those same emotions and more

Life sends all of us on some highs and lows, and what we experienced was definitely a low point. We have two choices when facing those low points in our lives, things that are far more important than a football game.

We can wallow in a pool of self-pity and give up. We can lash out at others because weíre upset. We can sulk. But not one of those things is going to change what happened. All itís going to do is make us feel worse.

Our second choice is to put the whole thing in perspective and move on. Whether itís a football game or some truly life-challenging event, we need to pluck out the positives of the experience and use them to our advantage. Itís not nearly as easy as wading around in the self-pity pool, but itís definitely possible. We need to step back and assess the situation and ask ourselves what we learned, how can we make it better the next time.

And we need to look forward, not dwell on past events. Theyíre done. The future is ours.