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The Damage You Can Do By Not Practicing The Three Crowns

This photo is funny. My situation, unfortunately, is not.

After 35 years of hearing and preaching about the TLC Three Crowns of positive attitude, full effort, and good sportsmanship, I recently, in the heat of the moment, called out my friend and teammate for not doing something I thought he should do.  I did it in front of others.  The look of hurt, embarrassment and anger in his eyes said everything.  I did not practice the third crown of sportsmanship—treating others the way I want to be treated—but I apologized as we were leaving the court.  He forgave me.

A month later, I did it again.  Same friend, same situation.  This time, when I apologized immediately on the court, it rang hollow to him.  Why?  Because I just said a month earlier I would not do that again.  Why should he trust me now?  I again did not commit to the third crown of good sportsmanship, and in the process, did terrible damage to our relationship.

This has caused us both great heartache.  We are, after a few months, just starting to make tentative gestures of peace towards one another after he originally informed me he had no interest in a relationship.  I have hope.  But I know the damage I did.  All because my own self-interest was greater than my interest in him.  I did not treat him the way I would like to be treated.  At all.

I have found that I can have fun on the tennis court even when I’m getting waxed, dumping shots into the net, taping my service returns, double faulting, or my teammate is playing poorly. If I am focusing on the Three Crowns.

I also can have fun on the basketball court (I still play a couple times a week) even if my shot is off, my opponent is blowing by me (“defense” is not in my vocabulary) or I am tripping over my own two feet (they are quite large).  Or if my teammate is playing poorly. If I am focusing on the Three Crowns.

And I can have fun in life, even if I don’t get the best grade in the class, or the promotion I wanted, or the recognition for a job well done. If I am focusing on the Three Crowns.

There is no question I have learned over the years to be better at them by becoming aware of my choices and trying to make them habits.

But it is a life long struggle for me.  I am ultra competitive in sports and life, and when I break one or all of the Crowns, I am witness to the damage it can do to others and myself.

There is a price we pay every time we choose not to practice them.  And it is always a broken relationship.  And it is never worth it. I know. I’m in one.

But I am committed to not giving up, to saying “next time I will choose differently”, and to count to ten (really) before I am about to say something I will later regret.  Wish me luck and I will wish you the same.  Because the thing about the Three Crowns is, we can’t do it alone.   We need each other.  That is often joyously – and sometimes painfully – evident.


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