On Saturday, 10 October 2015 – members of Wake and District helped usher in the NHL Carolina Hurricanes #Redvolution with the skirl of the pipes and war beat of the drums.  The band was #OnIce for the performance.  Solo piper Seth Wells and solo drummer Jacob Egen were center ice playing a rendition of Dawning of the Day – and the band joined in playing Scotland the Brave and Rowan Tree as the team coaches were announced.

Our Drum Major, Jason Lane, marched the team from their lockeroom – to the tunnel where they were announced.

Our sincere thanks to Jon Chase from the Carolina Hurricanes for bumping into the band 3 years ago at Woody’s pub in Raleigh – and for thinking of including Raleigh’s pipe band at a Carolina Hurricanes event.  We had a fantastic time – THANK YOU!

For the record — no one fell.

Check out some band photos and videos below.

#Redvolution #OnIce #PipeBandLife


the #RedVolution is coming…

We are beyond excited to be participating in the opening ceremonies — kicking of the 2015-2016 season for our NHL Carolina Hurricanes at the PNC Arena on 10 October 2015..  In preparation for the event, band members got to spend a few hours on the ice rehearsing with the staff of the Hurricanes and PNC Arena.  We are ready to usher in the #RedVolution.  The show begins Saturday, 10 October 2015 at 6:55 pm — as the Hurricanes take on the Red Wings.

Here are a few photos from the rehearsal – captured by band member Lloyd Johnson (who sadly will be unable to join us because he gets to ride the big red fire truck tomorrow in Raleigh).


madame mayor…

On Tuesday, 06 October 2015 the City of Raleigh held a municipal election and members of Wake and District were once again on hand to help celebrate Nancy McFarlane’s third term as Raleigh Mayor.

Wake and District is honored to be “Raleigh’s Pipe Band”. Since our formation in 2006, members of the band have participated in numerous City functions including Police and Fire graduation and award services, City Council ceremonies — and other stately events hosted by the City of Oaks. We’re privileged to be in service to North Carolina’s Capital City; our home town.

The piping and drumming took a feature role in the video below. Take a listen!

Congratulations Madame Mayor — now get to governing!

For more campaign news please visit the Mayor’s website @ http://nancymcfarlane.com/

From the NewsObserver :: Nancy McFarlane won a third term as Raleigh mayor Tuesday and secured her balance of power on the City Council as four of the five candidates that she and her husband had supported won and the other appeared to qualify for a runoff.

In another result, this year’s push for a more youthful Raleigh City Council failed to take hold with voters, who had been urged to reject candidates who backed new restrictions on outdoor drinking. Nancy McFarlane and husband Ron McFarlane backed District C winner Corey Branch, District D winner Kay Crowder, District E winner Bonner Gaylord and at-large member Russ Stephenson, who retained his seat.

Stephenson and incumbent Mary-Ann Baldwin, the top at-large vote-getter, fended off a challenge from Matt Tomasulo, a 33-year-old urban living advocate who opposed the restrictions on drinking. Four candidates vied for two at-large seats.

Meanwhile, McFarlane-backed candidate Dickie Thompson appeared headed for a runoff against J.B. Buxton or Eddie Woodhouse in a tight District A race. Thompson led the field by 57 votes with all precincts reporting. A runoff appeared likely.

Turnout throughout the city was low, with about 11 percent of voters casting ballots.

Overall, the successes of allied candidates meant that McFarlane, 59, will lead a council that will continue to guide and monitor the city’s development closely.

“I’m happy for all of them,” McFarlane said after results were final Tuesday. “It’s really time to get past the campaign and start being a team.”

Incumbents Stephenson and Crowder, especially, stressed that they would protect neighborhoods from development amid a time of tremendous growth.

“What you heard tonight was a referendum on protecting neighborhoods, prioritizing affordable housing and transportation,” Crowder said. “Those are the things I talked about.”

Incumbents faced challenges from young candidates who garnered strong financial support from downtown business owners for opposing new outdoor dining restrictions the council approved in August. Stephenson and Crowder voted for the rules, while three members opposed them.

Crowder, who was appointed to the council last fall after the death of her husband, former councilman Thomas Crowder, won her first election by beating Ashton Smith, 29.

With all precincts reporting, David Cox, a neighborhood activist known for leading the push against a proposed grocery store in North Raleigh, led incumbent John Odom by more than 200 votes in District B.

“People have concerns about growth and development affecting their neighborhoods,” Cox said.


we play for you…

A very busy (and special) weekend on tap for the members of the Wake and District pipe band.

For the 9th year in a row, members of the band will be attending the annual National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend in Emmitsburg, MD.  This special Weekend honors the service and sacrifice of the families of fallen firefighters. New survivors will have the opportunity to meet fire service survivors from across the country, share experiences, make lasting friendships, and begin to look ahead.  It’s a time for pipe bands across North America to come together to honor their fallen comrades through music.

Our hearts go out to the families of these fallen firefighters. They’ve become members of a fraternity no one seeks to join. These heroes are no longer with us. But we can tell you in our hearts, we will always remember and be grateful for your husband, your wife, your mother, your father, your sister, your brother, your daughter, your son. We will make sure that their names and their memories live on in the hearts, minds, and souls of our community for generations to come. This is our commitment to you. This is our duty —- For Our Fallen.

On Saturday – the band will be performing at the USO of North Carolina Salute to Freedom Gala in Durham, NC.  This is an evening of military pageantry as the USO honors heroes from each branch of service in North Carolina.  Two outstanding community members will be honored for their unwavering support of the USO of North Carolina and our military.   We are privileged to participate.

“We owe this freedom of choice and action to those men and women in uniform who have served this nation and its interests in time of need. In particular, we are forever indebted to those who have given their lives that we might be free.” President Ronald Reagan

We play for you.
In the name of God and Country.
To honor our comrades.
For dignity. For honor. For righteousness’ sake.


be honest, be committed, and be respectful…

Being in a band is one of the most exciting parts of music. You’re collaborating with other musicians, playing shows, recording, and becoming part of a larger musical idea. In many ways, a band is like a relationship, and you need to respect it and nurture it. Not everyone is going to agree or get along, but there are diplomatic ways of dealing with band disagreements. Be respectful, and don’t shoot yourself in the foot when interacting with your band. Here are five things you should never say to your band-mates – and what to say instead.

1. “You’re playing it wrong” —  Look, we understand how frustrating it can be when your band member isn’t getting the changes right. You have this perfect vision in your head of how the tune should sound, yet someone is messing up the flow. It happens. Everyone has their moments when the song is going great, and suddenly, you’re lost or you turn on the overdrive pedal instead of the reverb. There’s never a time or place, however, where it’s acceptable to lash out against someone for making a mistake.

If someone is playing a section wrong, first ask yourself, “Is it wrong to just me?” Perhaps your bandmate honestly believes the way he or she has chosen to play that section is a better fit for the tune. If it’s an obvious mistake like playing in the completely wrong key, then ask yourself, “Is my bandmate aware of the mistake?” Chances are that your bandmate knows a mistake was made and feels bad about it. Don’t be a jerk and rub it in.

What to say instead: “Hey, I noticed in section X that you’re playing it like Y. I like what you’re doing, but it sounds different than I remember. Did you change it up?”

2. “Here, let me show you” — Many of us have been guilty of doing this one before, but really, it’s never a good idea. Unless your bandmate asks, “Can you show me what you’re talking about?” and hands you their instrument, you shouldn’t “show them” how to play a section. We understand that you have every best intention for the tune, but you take the risk of belittling your bandmate. The point of a band is collaborative effort. If one person is deciding how each section sounds, then there’s no co-creation. Sure, most bands have a front person, but each member should be allowed to have creative input. If your drummer just can’t find the swing beat you have in mind, don’t tell him or her to get off the kit so you can demonstrate. Ask for ideas and get a conversation rolling. In the event you’re asked to show what you had in mind, respectfully let him or her know what you have in mind, but don’t kick them down.

What to say instead: “Tell me about your ideas for this tune. We’re getting closer to the right sound, and I want to keep exploring.”

3. “You’re replaceable” — This is downright pompous, but it happens as if music were some corporate entry-level job. If another band member isn’t holding up – like skipping practice or showing up to shows drunk – we understand that they may need to be replaced. However, it’s never acceptable to demean someone in such a cruel manner, nor should you threaten a band member with the harsh reminder that they’re replacable. It’s true; most musicians are replaceable in the sense that you can find someone else to play their parts, but each person contributes a unique sound to the music. If you get to the tough point in your band’s career where you have to replace a member, do it with respect. Your bandmate took time out of his or her life to play music with you and help grow the band. So, while his or her behavior and actions may have gotten out of hand, don’t rub it in that you’re going to replace him or her with someone better. Let your issues and reasons be known, then move on respectfully.

What to say instead: “We’ve noticed a change in your commitment to the band. Your talent and involvement means a lot to us, but we’re not sure we’re all on the same page. Is everything alright with you?”

4. “I can’t make it to practice because [insert lame excuse]” — Practice is an integral part of a band’s growth, both musically and personally. Time invested into practice is time invested into the power of your music and the power of your relationships with each bandmate. Even if you don’t have an upcoming show or studio session, it’s imperative you rehearse often with your band. When one person is making lame excuses as to why they can’t come, like, “I’m seeing a movie with my girlfriend,” “I’m too hungover,” or “I’ll just practice at home,” it gives the whole band the impression that they’re secondary. Sure, everyone needs a day off, but blowing off practice time because you were too rowdy the night before or because something “more fun” is going on doesn’t express commitment. Your bandmates want to feel confident that everyone is in it together, trying to make the best music possible, and having fun doing it.

What to say instead: “Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make it to practice next week as I have another important commitment. I wanted to let you know in advance so we can hopefully reschedule another time to rehearse.”

5. “I didn’t rehearse” —  This is equally as bad as skipping band practice. Practicing tunes on your own is just as important as practicing with the band. If your band’s new tune has an intricate 7/8 rhythm that’s been tripping you up, don’t wait until the next band practice to work on it again. Take it home, master it, and be ready for the next band rehearsal. Sometimes, musicians form their identity around a band, and the idea of playing music outside of that identity feels off, so, they don’t. But it’s important to practice on your own time in order to be the best musician you can be – whether it’s for the current band you’re in or your inevitable career as a solo musician.

What to say instead: “This was a tough section, but after rehearsing it on my own, I think I’ve got it up to speed. What do you think?”

Communication and respect are two of the most important keys for a band’s interpersonal success. Don’t let your ego or lack of dedication bring down the rest of the band. Be honest, be committed, and be respectful.

From: Sam Friedman — electronic music producer and singer-songwriter based in Brooklyn, NY. His music blends experimental ambience with indie-driven dance music. In addition to pursuing his own music, he is a New Music Editor for Unrecorded and is passionate about music journalism. Check out his music and follow him on Twitter @nerveleak.



discover it…

We came across a Facebook post from the infectiously inspiring folks of the New York Metro Pipe Band.  It read “Always look at other musicians as inspiration.  Never as competition.” — These words got us to thinking…

We all do it or have done it at some point in our lives: We compare ourselves (our band) to others and gauge where we are based on what we observe them to be doing.

If this was simply an observation, that would be one thing. But in comparing ourselves to others, we often end up judging ourselves. There’s no one worse to judge!

If you have ever noticed, it doesn’t matter how many people are on your side, cheering you on. If you can’t get on your own side, you never get past “go.”

The thing about comparison is that there is never a win. How often do we compare ourselves with someone less fortunate than us and consider ourselves blessed? More often, we compare ourselves with someone who we perceive as being, having, or doing more.

And this just leaves us coming up short.

But our minds do want to quantify. Our minds want to rank and file and organize information. Our mind wants to know where we fit into the scheme of things. So we need to give it something to do.

So, instead of training it to stop comparing altogether, why not simply redirect the comparison to a past and a present self and keep the comparison within?

We are always becoming more. Who you are today is a result of the decisions you made yesterday. We are always in a state of creation. We decide and then we decide again, and the direction is always toward expansion. It is our human nature to expand.

So, when you catch yourself comparing yourself to another, stop for a moment and re-direct the thought. Instead of submitting to the temptation to compare yourself to someone else, ask yourself a few questions instead.

What are you doing today that you couldn’t have done five, three, or even one year ago? How have you stepped out in the last year that you might have found inconceivable before?

What new decisions have you made or what new actions have you taken that have resulted in you moving in a new direction in your life?

What are your wins this year, compared to last year at this time? How has your life improved? How have you improved? What have you done recently that you never thought you could do?

What negative behavior have you stopped engaging in, that you never thought you could quit? What positive behavior have you been engaging in that up until now, you have resisted?

How are you doing more of what you said you were going to do and shown up more consistently for your own success?

In other words, how have you continued to become a new and improved version of yourself?

That’s the stuff that counts. Comparing ourselves with someone else is an inaccurate and irrelevant measuring stick.

Think about the faulty logic. Take, for example, an introvert who feels energized after periods of solitude. What does she get by comparing herself to a gregarious, outgoing personality who gets bored by an hour alone with herself?

What kind of illogical conclusions can she come to by this comparison?

Take any one of our perpetual comparisons and question the logic. Most are completely irrational in their reasoning.

We all came in different. We all came in with certain intentions that through life experience, we have continued to hone. In fact, the only masterful creation we have to work with is ourselves.

So, why defame it?

Michelangelo said, “Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.”

How well we do this is our measurement.

It doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing with their block of stone. The statue that they are liberating is one of their own intentions. But how well we are doing with our own block of stone is our business.

And we must tend to it with honor, care, compassion, and praise.

Because when we have allowed for more expression this year than we have in the last, and more importantly we recognize it, then we can stand taller as a result of the comparison instead of diminished by it.

That makes more sense. Doesn’t it?

#BandReady #PipeBandLife #MotivationMonday

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others: An Alternative to Competing with People By


we become what we practice…

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. —Aristotle

Have you noticed this yet? That the more you do something, the more you are it? Although we are certainly more than what we do, we do indeed become what we practice.  To be sure, we are more than the mere sum of our actions. There’s something incredibly intangible about being human. That we large, animate pieces of meat can not only conjure ideas but transmit them to each other.  But let’s not for a second delude ourselves into thinking our actions don’t matter, that discipline and devotion aren’t essential to the formation of character and value systems. They are.

We regret what we fail to practice…there’s nothing noble about an unlived life you thought of living. There’s nothing romantic about audacious, unrealized dreams. Nothing honorable about sacrifices made begrudgingly for a life you end up resenting.

If you want to be something, why not begin by doing it? If you long to be a bagpiper, than bagpipe. If a drummer, drum. And if a runner, run.

This is what determines all great endeavors — not just another interesting idea to talk about at band practice, but the decision to act, to move. One small step after another.

That’s what a habit is all about.


hashtag winning…

The pitter-patter of the pipes and drums were abundant this weekend at the Boone Plantation in Mt. Pleasant, SC (as was the sun, clouds, rain, bits of breeze and enveloping heat).  This contest marked the kick-off of the the back half of the Southern EUSPBA season.   It was fabulous seeing so many of the Southern EUSPBA bands coming together;  as we looked around, we saw no enemies – just good, old-fashioned rivalry.    Soloists and bands are working harder.  At each grade level bands and players are getting better and better — playing with so much more expression and musicality and the pipes and drums sounding bigger and brighter.

Congratulations to the Loch Norman Pipe Band (G4) and John Mohr MacKintosh Pipes & Drums (G5) for their 1st place finishes in band play.  G3 MSR winner was the Atlanta Pipe Band and the G3 Medley winner was the Grandfather Mountain Highlanders.

To all the bands — lose the expectation everything in life should be easy.  It rarely is.  In fact, there are no shortcuts to any place worth going.  Enjoy the challenge of your achievements.  See the value in your efforts and be patient with yourself. And realize patience is not about waiting; it’s the ability to keep a good attitude while working hard on your dreams.  It’s knowing deep down the work is well worth it in the end.

From Pipe Major Ken McKeveny — just a note of thanks to everyone for putting forth a great effort today at the Charleston Scottish Games and Highland Gathering. We were very respectable in both circles (G3/G4) — and the grade 4 did an outstanding job playing the MSR for the first time in the circle. Great progress and strides for the band.

Special thanks to the Justice League (and all our families and friends) for setting up camp. Great 1st place solo efforts by Timothy Hinson (G3 piping), Jessica Johnson (tenor) and Jason Lane (Drum Major).

We continue to build a strong foundation — and are always progressing forward.

Well done by the newbies in the circle including Russell W Jr Smith, Billy BC Gehringer and Raymond Swinton. I’m proud to be part of this journey with everyone. Thanks!

We’re glad to have you Ken — thank you!


right here, right now…

We seasoned pipers and drummers like to think we are pretty tough cookies and, by and large, we are, but we are always looking for something to give us an additional edge. So we want to share a little concept out of the University of Missouri which may just give you an intellectual advantage…

It’s called the McGuire-Ivey-Lattner Model of Mental Toughness, and coaches are using it to focus their athletes and build their mental skills. It is presented as a simple pyramid composed of various aspects of mental fortitude, and we hope you are already doing a lot of the exercises described in this program to develop these skills.

The good doctors at the Missouri Institute for Positive Coaching start with “Motivation” along the foundational base of the pyramid, and as we read about it we thought of how we need to spend more time reminding ourselves why we do what we do. It should come from an intrinsic drive because we enjoy what we do and believe in our mission. Our motive should be internal; we should want to continually become better at our jobs and not need others to drive us. Our approach to every situation should be positive, expecting to win, not just to get through it and survive.

The next level in the pyramid is “Preparation” and reminds us of the philosophy of all aspects of practice: physical, technical, emotional, and mental. For us, this requires an emphasis on job-specific training and mental perseverance in the face of adversity, which is very similar to athletics. After all, what is an athlete doing other than performing a skill in a stressful environment?

The next level of the pyramid is “Focus,” and this is a critical one in piping and drumming. Since focus is a complex issue it is broken down into five components: Time orientation—being in the now, pushing other thoughts and distractions aside; Positive Self-Talk—remember, the most important conversation you have may be with yourself; Composure—developed by using tools like breathing to keep your head when others around you are losing theirs; Concentration—Missouri’s motto on focusing is “See it…Feel it…Trust it!” “Trusting it” means you believe in yourself and your preparation and this leads to…Confidence—the good doctors believe confidence is a thought, one we can choose, so they teach their athletes to always choose to be confident.

To test if a player has done his or her prep for “Focus” a coach will ask, “Where are you?” and the correct response is, “Right here, right now!” This is a pretty good test to check if you are in “condition yellow,” the mindset our law enforcement brethren need to be in on the street.

Tier 4 of the pyramid is “Emotional Stability,” and it is divided into four categories: Flexibility, the ability to draw from a range of positive emotions in a variety of critical situations; Responsiveness, the ability to be “dialed in” in every situation; Strength, the ability to cope with emotional, mental, and/or spiritual pain, a skill we need to focus a great deal more on in law enforcement; and finally, Resilience, the ability to bounce back and recover from a blow. We are never going to avoid trauma in our profession, but too often we don’t proactively prepare for it. Preparation is the key to strength and resilience.

We are getting near the top of this mental toughness pyramid now and it should be no shock that “Accountability” is shown as the skill of penultimate importance for us. We need to be accountable to ourselves, to always keep striving toward our goals and constantly building good habits and avoiding bad ones. This simply involves choosing to do what is expected of us, not only by others but by ourselves.

Finally, we come to the top of the pyramid and the point of all training: “Performance.” What we do when we need to do it is the ultimate measure of our preparation. OK, here is your homework: Review this pyramid in your mind, practice the mental rehearsals and tactical breathing skills that are so valuable, and make sure you always win.

#RightHere #RightNow

Modified from an article posted by Dave Smith, an internationally recognized law enforcement trainer and is the creator of “JD Buck Savage.”

You can follow Buck on Twitter at @thebucksavage.


44th annual Charleston Scottish Games…

Members of Wake & District are hitting the road this weekend to Mt. Pleasant, SC for the 44st Annual Charleston Scottish Games being held at the historic Boone Hall Plantation. Our members will be competing in band and solo competition events.  Our thanks to Steve Collins for doing a superb job of wrangling the pipe bands and solo events scheduled throughout the day; we know this is not an easy undertaking.  We will surely post photos and results from the field.  To all of the bands and our many family and friends heading out…SAFE TRAVELS.

As we drive towards the back half of the EUSPBA season we ponder the impending vicissitudes: the thrill of success, and the agony of defeat—not the euphemism, the real deal— registering in every fiber of our  being and right there for everyone to see.

Folks may start out with the best intentions and grip on their emotions picture— the tuning to Scotland the Brave, flam after flam — but with the first error (or perceived error) things degenerate quickly and it’s Jackson Pollock on a bad day. There’s the pre-game freak out, the post-game melt down, the throwing down of the pipes, drumsticks, or whatever the case may be, followed by the “I hate everything, everything stinks, I quit” self-recrimination rant that occurs once the doors auto-shut on the mini-van.

Why is it that some players can’t lose? Is it their über focus on getting being the “champion”, the pressure to accept anything else but beyond the best? While there is no doubt that those success-crazed folks gone wild don’t help and need to be benched themselves, usually they only broadcast in stereo the message going through a player’s own mind: winning is everything; losing is the end of the world as we know it.

It’s also clear that our culture is out of whack, witness the 5:00 am sports practices, travel tournaments for 2nd graders, and cut-throat competition for all. While rectifying these variables will certainly improve the outcome, it will not eliminate the problem of folks who fall apart in the face of defeat. Especially since many of these folks fall apart even with just the anticipation of defeat. So losing isn’t the real disaster for these people, their relationship to losing, is the disaster.

We have all been witness to the poor sportsmanship and in those moments we thank goodness it’s somebody else’s band freaking out this time and not ours. But if you’re a player, chances are your number will come up, and you will be that band too. Until you can help your fellow players change the news feed in their mind about what just happened, no reassurance or tough love will be a match for the wrath or despair of your miserable player in ghilless.

What’s it all about? Are we being bratty sore losers, or is there call for compassion?

No one likes to lose, but for some folks losing isn’t a superficial scratch on the ego, it goes deep. In fact the reason why some have trouble losing is that they can’t hold on to who they were before the loss; instead, no matter how many successes they had under their belt, the loss transforms them irrevocably into a loser. It’s as if each game is a gamble where they put all their chips on the table, and if they lose, they’re cleaned out of all of their assets. If this is starting to sound like some people you know, including yourself, read on, the solutions are pretty much one size fits all.

The secret to a successful season isn’t just taping up the chanter, getting your tempos right, roll and repeat… it’s building up your muscle to lift yourself out of disappointment, and quickly. Even if your putting in hours everyday practicing, the way you ares going to succeed in piping and drumming (and in life) is to make friends with, or at least not be mortal enemies with, losing.

In sports more than any other arena, losing is a built-in. Sometimes it’s you, sometimes it’s the other team, but it shouldn’t come as a surprise. And yet, for many, it’s like they never saw it coming and it knocks them flat on the ground. The more who can re-think what it means to lose, the more they will be resilient people—not only bouncing back from disappointments, but coming back stronger, because they’ve made use of what went wrong to improve— for the next time— what they can do right.

These strategies will help maintain perspective when there are those disturbances on the field and put the bounce back in your spirit:

  1. Empathize, Empathize, Empathize! Though it’s tempting to rush in and reassure or correct your thoughts and feelings (by saying, don’t feel that way, don’t say that, that’s not true!), this will only get folks more upset because rightfully so, they feel you haven’t heard them. Instead reflect what they are saying, “this feels like the worst day of your life,” or, “you feel like you’re the worst player.” Empathizing doesn’t mean agreeing with their conclusions, it means accepting that this state at this moment. By hearing your thoughts played backwe are often able to move beyond the feelings and recognize how we are different from the facts, “I feel that way, but I know it’s not true.”
  1. Lower the Stakes not the Standards: Separate your Values from the Outcome of the Game.Your values as a human being are not at stake every time he steps on the field (it only feels that way), your value is a permanent possession. Don’t dispense with the importance of playing well, but dispense with the inaccurate interpretation of what it means to lose: ask what it means to if we lose, and then ask to think what it really means in life. What is the interpretation that the coach has? The other players? Even MVPs lose games and strike out—lots of games, lots of strike outs. It doesn’t mean you are a loser or even a bad player, it’s one moment in time. The outcome of the game is temporary and changeable, your value, permanent and only will improve with effort.  
  1. Find the Wins within the Losses and Learn from the Mistakes: While every game or event has winners and losers, the real loss is when you don’t give credit where credit is due. Ask your what went well. Don’t dispense with the credit just because it is easy. While you are critical of the one things we did wrong, we will be dismissing and devaluing the things we did well, because in the all or none game, if you can’t do it all, you lose. Not so. Look at professional athletes, the best hitters have the most errors, the best basketball players can’t master the free shots.  Help make the crisis an opportunity for learning how to improve: analyze like a detective what went wrong and see if there are things to make it happen differently next time (practicing a particular skill, staying focused on the game).
  1. Separate the Feelings from the Facts and Ditch the Absolutes: When we’re upset our feelings are extreme, fortunately the facts are not. Best way to point this out is to simply reflect back what we say and remind ourselves that feelings are strong at first, but they pass; they don’t last forever.  So, if someone says: “Everyone is better!” you say, “It feels like everyone is better than you—is that what you really think is true, or just how you are feeling right now?”  Listen and help your mates correct the absolutes: “everyone is better” becomes “some people play better, some don’t”, “I never do anything right,” becomes, “I usually play well, this was a tough game.” “I stink at everything” becomes I am strong in pitching, I need to practice my fielding more.
  1. Identify the Outlier: When perfectionist players make a mistake they assume that error redefines their life, starts a new trend for them as a loser. Help them see that exceptions here and there do not make a new rule, separate their baseline playing from the outliers or exceptions that are going to occur.
  2. Identify Where We are On the Learning Curve: Ask when we started to learn how to _______. Think through about how long it will take to learn a new skill and how she will know when they have mastered it. Ask to draw a curve and make an X to denote your current position.
  1. Control What You Can: Set Your Own Personal Goal: Help go into a game with one or two ideas about what we want to do differently in this game, that way regardless of the outcome of the game, we can circle back to the goals and see how we did with the part we could control. 
  1. Bring in the Pros: How Would Your Favorite Player Narrate the Story? Identify with your band one or several players who they look up to and “ask” (imagine) what they would say about a tough game. Imagine or research how they have dealt with their own challenging games. Every sport has examples of winners who also lose, this is the norm.  Take Ryan Howard, first basemen of the Phillies, who won MVP in 2006. In that year he had more home runs and RBIs than any other player in major league baseball, AND, had 199 strikeouts in 2007, the all time strikeout mark for a hitter in a season! If Ryan were telling the story, he’d probably say, don’t let those losses get in the way of your success!

We all want to protect our mates from disappointment, but the more we can see that disappointments are survivable, ordinary moments of life, the less we will stumble and get stuck. We will not only be more resilient and more willing to get in there and play, we will probably play better because we’re are not doing battle with ourselves on the field (let alone how much more pleasant the rides home will be).