by Annette Bridges. ©2010. All rights reserved.

I love football season even though my team isn’t winning. There are many life lessons that can be learned from watching this game.

One example was illustrated to me yesterday by an opposing team’s quarterback.

Imagine a quarterback who gets a bad snap. In fact, imagine a football rolling by this quarterback’s feet instead of landing in his hands. Then imagine how this quarterback responded in that moment.

Did he start yelling at his center for his obvious mistake?

Did he throw his hands up in the air and stomp off to the sideline in frustration and despair?

Did he scramble frantically for the football only to knock it further away from him?

Or did he calmly stop the rolling ball, pick it up and make a great play — a play that resulted in a touchdown for his team moments later?

You guessed it. Unfortunately for my team, the quarterback demonstrated great poise!

I couldn’t help but be impressed by his poise under extreme pressure. Even in the midst of what could have been a catastrophic mistake for his team — on the ten yard line no less — his poise is what enabled him to make the best out of a bad situation.

I couldn’t help but recall many times when a mistake made by someone else was costly to me. And I recalled how easy it was to point fingers and blame them as the excuse for my problem.

I also recalled other times when I gave up in my own exasperation. This is even easier to do when there is someone else to point to as the cause for your troubles.

And furthermore, I could also recall times of over-anxiousness and hysteria when I tried in vain to figure out a solution. These were times when I aimlessly did everything possible but the right thing.

Of course, no problems were solved in these times!

Oh the power that is discovered when we are poised to discover it!

Maintaining our poise is about maintaining our balance, confidence, composure. Our steadiness, stability, self-assurance, grace and polish keeps us ready to respond to whatever the hour demands of us.

It is our poise that enables us to problem-solve and to problem-solve quickly if needed. Our coolness and composure is what helps us know what to do and when and how to do it.

We can’t be poised and panic at the same time! And I can speak from experience that panic — also known as irrational behavior — generally makes it impossible to see beyond the end of your nose! In fact, panic tends to blur vision, stupefy reason and confound judgment.

And no good quarterback can make game-saving plays if he is unable to think clearly — if he is astonished or shocked by mistakes, dumbfounded, baffled, stumped or perplexed by the inadequacies of his teammates or calls by referees or even his coaches.

Nope, a good quarterback is able to make the best out of every play even if it means running the ball himself to get the first down. And a good quarterback never lets one bad play or a series of bad plays lower his expectations or dampen his determination to win the game. Even if the scoreboard says his team is losing, a good quarterback maintains his poise and does whatever it takes to win the game. He never gives up or throws passes frantically down the field hoping that one of his teammates will catch the ball.

A poised quarterback will make the best out of each play. And when one play doesn’t do the job, then he knows the next play can. And no matter how many games his team loses, a poised quarterback is certain the next game can be won.

Yes, I think much can be learned from watching football. I just hope my team’s quarterback is poised to win the next game. And I hope to be equally ready for any challenges and difficulties I have to face in my life. A quarterback has taught me that with poise, any problem can be overcome, endured and surpassed.