Laces out

Gary Tetz
Gary Tetz

You think Five Star is bad? That cherry-picked data can lead to misinterpretation? That it's unfair to be publicly vilified online, and perhaps eternally defined, by every little mistake? That no one should make judgments about your facility's quality and performance when they don't know the whole picture?

You're lucky you're not Blair Walsh.

He's the unfortunate kicker for the Minnesota Vikings who missed a chip-shot field goal last weekend that would have sent the Seattle Seahawks packing. Moments after the ball improbably sailed wide left, everyone on earth made the same Ace Ventura joke, and he walked to the sidelines a national disgrace.

You had to feel horrible for the guy, who apparently had an extended post-game cry at his locker. Sure, he screwed up, badly, and the team's ultimate fate came down to his foot and the ball. But he's not the entire reason they lost.

Unfortunately, Blair now joins an illustrious lineage of American icons of public failure, and he'll now live forever as one of the greatest goats in NFL playoff history — a perception he'll probably never shake.

Here are the lessons we could/should draw from his career-defining experience:

1.  Long-term care needs lockers. We each need a safe place where we can stand red-faced and crestfallen before the nation and world, own up to our mistakes, and openly weep. Perhaps facility lobbies could be retrofitted.

2.  Crying is good. Maybe this sounds like sacrilege, but life is even more important than football. When the stakes are highest — and in long-term care they always are — showing a little emotion, or even a lot of it, is to be praised, not stigmatized.

3.  Perspective matters. Whether in our long-term care jobs or our personal relationships, what happened last isn't necessarily what happened worst. Every bad outcome is the culmination of a host of contributing moments when other people didn't do their jobs right either.

4.  Everyone's responsible. No matter what happens, it happens together. We all deserve praise — and blame. So rather than extending our fault-finding fingers, we rally around and embrace our temporarily fallen hero.

Oh, and one more thing. Laces out.

Things I Think is written by Gary Tetz, a national Silver Medalist and regional Gold Medal winner in the 2014 Association of Business Press Editors (ASBPE) awards program. He has amused, informed and sometimes befuddled long-term care readers worldwide since his debut with the former SNALF.com at the end of a previous century. He is a multimedia consultant for Consonus Healthcare Services in Portland, OR.

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Things I Think

Things I Think is written by longtime industry columnist Gary Tetz, who resides in Portland, OR. Since his debut with SNALF.com at the end of a previous century, he has continued to amuse, inform and sometimes befuddle long-term care readers worldwide.

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