Normally, I don’t disagree with Peyton Manning. He’s someone I highly respect, not just because of his extremely successful football career, but because of the way he has carried himself, both on and off the field.
But when he declared Tuesday to be #LaundryNight, the five-time MVP and I were at odds. For me, it’s Sunday night. You see, I actually find laundry to be quite calming (unlike other chores like washing dishes, which are just annoying). And when it can be done against the backdrop of a quality football game, it’s a beautiful thing.
I particularly enjoy it when I have to stake in the game (which may be the case for a while, considering the fact that my pitiful Giants haven’t won since September). And so, when the Houston Texans hosted the New England Patriots a few nights ago, I figured I was in for a treat.
I figured correctly. And although the game itself was very entertaining, the real benefit was listening to one of the best in the business, Al Michaels. A 40-year veteran of broadcasting, Michaels has covered more major primetime sports events than any other sportscaster, and is revered by so many in the field for his professionalism. In an era of YouTube sensations and announcers who seem more concerned with coining a catch phrase than reporting, he’s a breath of fresh air, bringing knowledge, humor and a much-needed voice of reason to the role.
During the second quarter of the game, in what most would view as a throwaway play, Michaels made a point that really resonated with me. On first down, Texans QB DeShaun Watson evaded a sack and threw the ball out of bounds, resulting in no gain.
Michaels, however, viewed it differently. The way he saw it, Watson should have been sacked, but instead was able to slip from the grip of Patriots Defensive End John Simon, and release the ball. Because of his speed, persistence, and incredible eye for what was happening, Watson saved his team about 14 yards. Instead of a daunting 2nd and 24, it was 2nd and 10. A few plays later, Houston took a 14-3 on a TD pass from Watson to Darren Fells.
“It’s something you don’t hear about it, but those are the types of plays that keep a drive going,” Michaels said. In this case, it was a 13-play, 88-yard drive that gave the Texas a decisive lead. And although Fells’ catch was key, without Watson’s scramble, it might have looked completely different.
This is what effective broadcasters do; they shine a light on the plays that otherwise would have been overshadowed, and the players who made them happen. The same can be said of effective leaders. They know that every successful go-live, every ‘Most Wired’ or ‘US News Best Hospitals’ banner, every achievement is the result of a culmination of efforts. They know that without the evaded sacks — the ‘blocking and tackling’ we often hear about — there are no highlight reel-worthy touchdown receptions.
But when leaders take the time to call out those who go above and beyond, it makes an enormous impact. And it doesn’t have to be a grand gesture; it can be as simple as a Starbucks gift card, a company-sponsored pizza lunch, or an email expressing appreciation.
These things matter. As someone who has worked for individuals who do (Anthony) and do not acknowledge folks who go the extra mile, I can attest to how much it means. Because when you get that validation, you’re not just hearing, “thank you” (which is important); you’re hearing, “I see you.”
And that is more satisfying than folding 4 piles of laundry.