Pick Your Battles

As I’m writing this, Notre Dame is playing West Virginia. I have the game on mute, because also as I’m writing this, I’m catching up on last night’s Jimmy Fallon. (How’s that for multi-tasking?)

Back to the game.

It’s a physical and emotional game. So far I have seen both coaches incensed at calls they disagreed with. West Virginia’s coach had to be restrained by both his assistants. Nearly every trip to both baskets results in someone on the floor. Coaches scream. So far the players have been relatively calm, but both sides have been called for technical fouls in the past five minutes.

It’s a basketball game. In the regular season. How important is it to get so worked up?

I’ve been faced with my own battles in recent weeks. With each one, I do a cost-benefit analysis and ask myself: Is this is issue to get worked up about?

Yesterday’s battle probably didn’t need me to draft a pithy email response, but I did nonetheless, and even hit “send” after consulting two colleagues about my tone and content.

How have I figured out which battles to fight? I think about how I’ll feel after I lob the first grenade. Two other battles in the past week have been completely worth the fight. Yesterday’s? Meh…probably not.

In the time it’s taken to write this, Notre Dame hasn’t been able to close the 10 point gap they began the half with. West Virginia is going to win. Yet West Virginia’s coach had to be restrained about one missed call. Maybe he should save the freaking out for the tournament.

If he gets there.


  1. I know, I know…but those battles involve students and I didn't want to risk writing anything that could be remotely described as “revealing” in that sense.



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