No sense crying over spilled milk

“How To Bounce Back: The Last Drop” by Miles Austin as told to Charles Curtis (ESPN Magazine, December 2009). First, to the non-sports fans out there please excuse the sports “analogy” — but it works. Second, for reasons unknown to mortal man & woman, this (brief) article was only in ESPN’s print edition. No, AU value add today. That time is being invested in typing this in for you.

It’s a receiver’s most egregious sin: dropping a pass when he’s wide open. But that transgression might actually be a necessary evil.

Just ask Cowboys’ wideout Miles Austin. The way he tells it, his bobble during the first half of Dallas’ Week 5 win over Kanas City helped him break the franchise record for receiving yards. That day, he went for 250 yards, 234 gained after the drop. Since then, Austin has averaged 17.4 ypc (yard per catch) and scored 4 TDs (touch downs). We asked the four-year vet how he used his big mistake to come back big.

“Right before halftime, Tony Romo threw a fade pass to the corner of the end zone. For some reason, I lost concentration and didn’t stick my arm out for enough. The ball went off my hands, and immediately,  I thought, I have to lock back in. Mentally, I treated the moment like the game had started over. Luckily, the worked. For the rest of the day, I attacked the ball and tried to reach out and grab the ball before it hit me.”

“When I drop a ball I think I should have caught, I focus more during practice the week afterward. For example, right before Wednesday practices, we run what’s called pat-and-go. To warm up, the quarterbacks will throw a few fade routes to us. That’s a point where you could easily lose focus, but that’s when I try to concentrate more on the looking the ball in.

“In Week 9, against the Eagles, Romo threw the same type of ball to me on the opposite side of the field. I looked it on and caught it, the same way I wanted to catch the one I missed the month before. That turned out to be the game-winning touchtown”

We all drop the ball. We all make mistakes at work. We all make resolutions and then have transgressions. The point is, don’t get sucked into the black hole of a past you can not change. Just get up, learn your lesson and keep going. Also be sure to forgive your “team mates” when they drop the ball too.

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