Another Reason Why You Don’t Give Up And Leave Early

Today Ohio State fans learned a valuable lesson:  you don’t give up and you never, ever leave a game early.

The Buckeyes were stumblebums for most of the game.  The offense sputtered.  The defense gave up an 83-yard TD on Purdue’s first play from scrimmage.  Purdue returned a kickoff more than 100 yards for a touchdown.  Braxton Miller was injured (no report yet on how seriously, but it didn’t look good).  The Buckeyes had a field goal hit the upright and gave up a safety due to a holding call in the end zone.  And, with 40-some seconds left, the Buckeyes were behind by 8, with no timeouts, trying to rally behind their second-string quarterback.  By then, many fair weather fans had already left, and only the diehards remained.

Yet somehow, improbably, the Buckeyes came back to win.  Kenny Guiton, the backup QB, led the Buckeyes on a drive that saw them score the crucial touchdown with 3 seconds left, and then gain the essential two-point conversion with a beautiful play that featured Guiton throwing a fine touch pass to his tight end.  And so, improbably, the Buckeyes sent the game into overtime, where the Buckeyes scored on their possession and Purdue didn’t — and that was the ballgame.

I always stay at games until the end.  I’m there to see the game, and the last seconds of a loss are as much a part of the game as the first few plays.  I’ve also seen enough football to know that anything can happen . . . and today it did.  It gives me some pleasure to know that the early departees are kicking themselves for giving up and missing the chance to witness one of the most unbelievable comebacks in Ohio Stadium history.

As far as the Buckeyes go, this is a team that still needs a lot of improvement on both sides of the ball.  For now, though, I’m going to enjoy a game that showed you should never give up, whether you are a player, or a fan.  Go Bucks!

When People Give Up

The April unemployment rate dropped slightly, to 8.1 percent.  Unfortunately, the decline was due not so much to the creation of new jobs, but to the fact that hundreds of thousands of people just quit looking for work.

Under the government’s approach to calculating the unemployment rate, those people just aren’t counted as unemployed any more.  As a result of the continuing decline in the number of people looking for work, the share of Americans who are part of the labor force — either working or actively looking — has reached its lowest point in 30 years.  Some of the people who have quit looking for work are early retiring Baby Boomers, but many are people who have just given up hope of finding a job.

There is a tremendous human cost when people give up.  They may have started their job search with confidence, sending out resumes and answering want ads and going to job fairs.  But, after months without success, grim reality creeps in.  They know they have failed, and it embarrasses them.  Often, because they are embarrassed, they lash out at family and friends.  They limit their horizons, rationalize their failure, and stop dreaming of a better future.  They focus, instead, on settling and making do with what they have left.  The whole process sucks the air out of their balloon and they face life deflated and defeated.

There’s a reason why many parents won’t allow their kids to quit a sports team or a school activity once they’ve committed to it.  That’s because quitting tends to lead to more quitting.  Once you’ve stopped trying in one area, and just accepted your reduced status, it becomes progressively easier to quit in other areas, too — whether it is school, or work, or relationships.  Quitting is cancerous.

I think this is the hidden, long-term issue we will be dealing with if this recession ever ends.  There are people of all age groups who have given up.  The younger ones may have moved back in with their parents; the older ones may be slowly spending their savings and trying to hold on.  Will those people ever be reinvigorated, given their confidence back, and returned to the point where they dare to dream again?