We’ve been thinking a lot about choices lately.  We are not naïve enough to think that all choices are clear-cut or even voluntary.  We know that there are circumstances where they are not.    In some cases, of the choices offered, none is a jump-for-joy option.  But in many circumstances our behavior is the one thing for which we have total control.  Like the quote above, there are lots of things that can influence our choices, but bottom line, we are responsible for our choices and our actions.

Several choices have been highlighted in the news within the last week or so which have really left us thinking.  You may have heard and even seen the fan getting shoved during an Oklahoma State University vs Texas Tech University basketball game.  As the OSU player, Marcus Smart was being helped up after flying into the stands in an attempt to block a shot, the Tech fan, Jeff Orr yelled something at Smart who retaliated by shoving Orr with both hands.  Talk about bad choices – on both sides!

Since the incident, Marcus has made a very public and heartfelt apology to Orr personally, to the team and others; and said “I’m taking full responsibility. No finger pointing. This is all upon me…I take full responsibility and the consequences that come with it.”  We’re sure that was a very difficult and defining moment for that young college athlete. But we would say a nice recovery after such a terrible initial choice.   He made the decision to own his issues and make no excuses.  In a statement released by Texas Tech, Orr apologized for his inappropriate comments and has voluntarily agreed not to attend any more Tech basketball games this year.  It seems Orr owns his part in this incident too.

The other story we’ve been thinking about is that of Missouri lineman, Michael Sam. Sam in an interview with the New York Times spoke about being gay – something he had shared with his college team at the season’s beginning, but had not talked about publically until that interview.  Sam is not just your average college football player.  He was named first-team All-American and defensive player of the year in the Southeastern Conference and plans to enter the NFL draft this year.  He will be the first openly gay player in the NFL.  This public declaration, prior to being drafted, could potentially be a detriment to his career.  He said, “I just want to make sure I could tell my story the way I want to tell it…I just want to own my truth.”  What a very brave choice – being accountable for who he is and owning his truth.

Needless to say, the reactions have been all over the place.  From the very public support of Dale Hansen, a sportscaster in Dallas – if you haven’t seen his essay you should look it up – it went viral!  To the many who aren’t brave enough to put their names to their comments, but chose to throw stones.

How do we chose to behave?  We all make mistakes, of course we do.  After all, we are human.  But how we choose to be perceived by others is really up to us!  It’s all about choices.