Keeping things in perspective

Perspective….. Coaches on every level love to use that word whether their team wins a big game or is beaten by a team with lesser talent.

Well, two events-one sad and one happy-occurred over the last week in my life that reminded me of the importance that should be placed on that 11-letter word.

The week began with the unexpected loss of a man I considered a friend, a mentor and a boss.

Jim Smith was more than just the executive editor of The Parkersburg News and Sentinel.

He was a person I looked up to and went to on several occasions to ask for advice. He could be, and sometimes was, hard on me.

But, at the same time, he was one of the few individuals that stood behind me when things were going not-so-well in my life.

Jim will be missed by many, myself included. The world is a little sadder with his passing.

Then, my week ended with the birth of my first grandchild.

Harper Brielle Butta came into the world at 11:15 a.m. on Thursday and, like most grandchildren, immediately had ‘grandpa’ wrapped around her little fingers.

There are very, very few events in one’s life more satisfying than the birth of a child or grandchild.

The event puts everything else you do in life in perspective (there’s that word again).

After a football season that witnessed West Virginia University fail to make a postseason bowl for the first time in 12 years, the city’s two largest high schools combine to go 6-14 on the gridiron and no local teams advanced to the Super Six at Wheeling Island Stadium, let’s face it, it had become very difficult to head into the winter sports programs with any kind of enthusiam.

But, after having time to reflect upon the games I covered and the teams I wrote about, one thing became clear (here’s that perspective).

I can honestly say that I never saw a player or a coach (yes, not even Dana Holgorsen) that wasn’t giving every bit of effort they had in trying to win the game.

It didn’t always work out, but I never left a contest thinking the victory was ‘given’ to the other team because of bad play or coaching.

There were some, admittedly, questionable moments-at Maryland and at Kansas.

But, when one takes the time to put things in perspective, you realize that, on many occasions, it isn’t always the play of your favorite team that decides the outcome of a contest, but the play of the opposition.

Sometimes, your team just gets out-played.

It really can be that simple.

Should we accept that? Absolutely not.

But, keeping things in perspective will allow you to enjoy those moments – and every team had them -when it appeared as if it might be one of the better programs in the state, conference or country.

Isn’t perspective great?

Contact Jim Butta at