Lance Scranton: It’s a steal!
January 9, 2018
There you are, minding your own business, and it's gone. You think you're doing everything you are supposed to be doing, and it is taken. You're watching and waiting for something good to happen, and suddenly, it goes the other way.
We celebrate interceptions in football, steals in basketball, finishing ahead of another competitor in a close race or a change from an outcome you fully expected but, instead, turned into something better than anticipated.
The kinds of steals we really hate are the unexpected things that happen, and we feel a sense of helplessness and frustration because of the circumstances in which the events took place: Someone steals your property or takes credit for something you did or misappropriates blame, and you are held responsible.
There really isn't a great way to explain why people feel the need to steal from others, and I have no idea what leads people to take credit for something they didn't have anything to do with or why we sometimes get caught up in events that steal important things from us, just because others see an opportunity to do so. Some people are convinced that taking something that isn't theirs is perfectly acceptable and simply survival of the fittest or just the way life unfolds. "Sucks to be you" is generally how the teenagers explain the unfortunate thefts that happen to others.
The worst theft of all takes place on teams and in organizations when there is a nefarious attempt to climb the ladder or be number one. The attitude revolves around selfishness, and it is the one human attribute that is guaranteed to lead to misery.
John Wooden used to explain that happiness ends where selfishness begins and he was a pretty wise individual who demanded his players' actions reflect unselfishness. You have heard plenty of people talk about the importance of sharing both the responsibility and credit for success and how much it makes the endeavor so much more valuable.
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The only thing to do when we are confronted with the issue of selfishness is to expose the thief whose self-seeking attitude leads to the theft of true success and happiness. We are plagued by people who believe that becoming the best person they can be will come only at the expense of others. It's partly the fault of social media and the felt need to appear as though our life is one big "24-7" party of success and joy. We all know that's a farce, but we can get caught up in the cycle if we aren't careful.
We all put far too much time into our work and endeavors to have the potential of success and happiness thwarted by the corruption of selfishness and negative behaviors. Sure, exposing the selfish player or coworker is one of the most difficult things to do but also the most unselfish act of kindness possible.
Though the joy of an interception or a steal is fun to watch and experience in sports, some stealing is out of our control, while other types of theft are just a few words away from being exposed.
Lance Scranton is a teacher and coach at Moffat County High School.