Do we always know for sure that what we communicate is understood as we meant it?
|The Eye of the Beholder
We never really know how our words or actions will affect somebody else!
As a volunteer coach for about 30 years, I have had the chance to meet many athletes and because of this I have managed to put myself in a few “unusual” situations.
It all started rather innocently. I was but a part-time coach for a young female athlete who was learning the triple jump. This is a technical event that requires a lot of practice and results are not always consistent. Sometimes all I could do was to encourage the jumpers and tell them that the results would come, sometimes unexpectedly.
We were at the “city meet” and as a coach I was not allowed on the field but the athletes were jumping close to where I could sit close by and watch. One athlete was preparing to jump and the official called the name of my athlete to let her know to warm up because she would be next. She had been sitting in the grass with the others, so she got up and walked to the rubberized track to do a short sprint as a warm-up but as she started to run, her spikes caught the rubber of the track and she fell heavily on her knees, causing both knees to start bleeding a little. She got up, looked towards the stands and being the clown I sometimes was, I motioned to her with 10 fingers, both hands fully open above my head that she had scored a perfect ten points on her unexpected dive to the track. (This was the old scoring system used for diving competitions. This has since changed.) She looked at me puzzled and nodded yes.
She wiped her knees, walked to the runway, looked intently at the jumping pit and started her run. She luckily hit the jumping board perfectly and actually had a good jump. She must have felt it because she quickly walked to the officials who were carefully measuring twice then she started to jump up and down excitedly, ran over to the stands where I was sitting and told me in a clear loud voice. “Sir, Sir, you’re the best!!! How did you know I could jump ten meters?”
She won the competition with a new meet record for her age class and for a personal best.
Yep… we never really know how our words or actions will affect somebody else!