P: Poise – What It’s Really Like

P: Poise – What It’s Really Like

This post is part of a series titled, “A-B-Cs – What It’s Really Like”. Each week a new letter and its word will be revealed. Each word’s explanation will illustrate significant personal meaning, application and ultimately demonstrate, What It’s Really Like… 

Poiseverb – to hold (something) in a balanced and steady position

The season of fall features a great dose of excitement for sports fans.  Playoff baseball, college/professional football, hockey and basketball all joust for the spotlight in the late months of the year in America.  As the days grow shorter, so do the sleep patterns of most sports enthusiasts attempting to absorb as much of the action as possible while still being able to have the strength to function on a day-to-day basis.

I have always been able to sit down and immerse myself in an athletic contest even without knowing anything about either team playing.  The art of competition is fascinating.  As in most sports, skill, will and a bit of luck all play a role in determining factors in the eventual outcome of a game.  A man I used to coach with used to tell our players the competition was about weathering the storm.  Players should anticipate a violent storm during the contest.  It would be inevitable.  Would they allow the storm to disrupt the game plan and their top goal or would they hold steady during inclement conditions?  Most times, but not always, the team that does the best job at balancing the highs and lows emerge victorious.

Saturdays and Sundays in the fall place a popular focus on the football gridiron.  Each game a significant amount of attention is paid to the quarterback position.  This is understandable for the large number of responsibilities the signal caller holds on each play.  Having played the position before I have an insurmountable respect for each player that gets under center.  Beyond ball handling and arm strength the quarterback position requires many intangible skills; most of which cannot be taught: composure, leadership, decision making, instinct, adaptability, internal clock and moxie.   Aside from athletic talent, all of those skills can be boiled down into one classification: poise.

Great poise is undeniable. 

Coach K writes in his book (Beyond Basketball) “…poise is the opposite of panic…it (poise) requires maturity.  It’s about remaining mentally and emotionally balanced all the time, no matter what is taking place around you.”  I obviously no longer play football, but that does not mean that I have stopped trying to sidestep the oncoming rush of the opposition.  One of the first cardinal rules to follow as a quarterback is to take care of the football and maintain a possession.  Many aspire to be placed in a position to call the shots having no idea what it takes to stand in the pocket and play the game.  When faced with pressure are you converting or turning it over?  When the rush is on and the pocket is collapsing how do you protect what is important and maintain possession of something you have worked so hard to claim?  Poise or panic?  We all play our own game.  We all face a different opponent.  Only you can answer that question.

“Clear the mechanism” -Billy Chapel
“Ease the pounding of your heart by quieting your mind” -GMa
“Keep calm and carry on” -WWII Brits

Evidence and reminders of poise are all around.  Face each day possessed with optimism, meet your opposition with poise and keep on converting. 

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Husband. Father. Brother. Teacher. Coach. Sports fan. Weather geek. Backyard vacationer.

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