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Day 87: How to Respond to Disappointment in a Pandemic

by Mar 27, 2021Challenges, HOAM Insights, Psychology, Weekends0 comments

Today, this Hero On A Mission (HOAM) was going to watch the NDSU Bison play a football game against the University of South Dakota. This morning at 10 am the decision was made to cancel the game due to a positive test result for one of the Bison players. Just one more oddity to chalk up to the pandemic we find ourselves in.

Of course, I’m disappointed. I’m a huge NDSU football fan, but as a HOAM I’ve found watching a Bison game is an activity that several people in my family enjoy. It’s a fun pastime we can do together.


The reality is, this game wouldn’t even be scheduled for today if it weren’t for the pandemic. College football is played in the fall. But the 2020 FCS (Football Championship Subdivision) season was postponed last fall and many schools are playing the season this spring. That is the only reason why this game was on the calendar for today. Normally, these teams would be in spring football practices. Instead they’re juggling reality as best they can. And reality is never perfect, even when we aren’t living through a pandemic.

As much as I’m disappointed for me and my family, I’m even more disappointed for the players on each team. Student athletes work extremely hard. They balance school with a heavy practice schedule. Their fall season was taken from them. Now at least one game this spring has been deleted as well. To work all week, physically and mentally, to play this particular game only to have it called off three hours before kickoff has to be deflating.

I especially feel for the young man who tested positive. It must be troubling to know YOU are the reason all your teammates and coaches, plus the other team’s counterparts, don’t get to compete today. YOU are the reason someone didn’t get to score a touchdown or make a big play. And everyone on your team knows it was YOU that the game didn’t happen.

That’s what 2020 and 2021 have been like.

Opportunity on the Other Side of Disappointment

On the other hand of disappointment, this is also a learning opportunity for the player, his teammates, and his coaches.

  • A time to learn from any mistakes made.
  • A time to recognize there are things outside our control we cannot allow to steal our agency from what is within our control.
  • A time to bounce back from disappointment and adversity stronger than when we first faced it.

Reality is, we have all had to face similar disappointments and adversity this last year. Some of us have faced challenges that make what these two football teams are facing today shrivel in comparison. As a HOAM I am learning to focus on what I can control and do, not what I can’t. That’s called an internal locus of control. It makes a huge difference for my outlook on life. It’s a core principle of being a HOAM.

Glen Stevens

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