No More Buts – Another Lesson from the Track & Field

April 14, 2014 — 4 Comments

I spent most of the day on Saturday at the track helping out at the 7th Annual Viking Track & Field Invitational hosted by my daughter’s track team.  The day was absolutely beautiful and perfect for a track meet.

I was recruited to help out with checking in runners and handing out lane assignments before each of the races.  With twenty-five teams participating, it was a pretty busy job.  I had a great time working with the other “clerks” who had also volunteered in an effort to support their kids and the track team.

A minor mix-up happened at the end of the day that resulted in a relay team being assigned a heat and lane that didn’t necessarily match up with their seeding time.  The coach of the team came over to express his frustration with the situation, and I initially jumped in to explain what may have happened.

Eventually, I sent the coach to the officials tent at the finishing line.  I did not hear from the coach again, but our team’s track coach came over to find out what have happened at check in.  I told the coach how I made a mistake checking in the team after the team was late in checking in for the race.  I took partial blame for the problem, but I pushed it back at the team for failing to check in on time.  After I explained the story, our coach said something like, “That was our fault.  We screwed up.”

The coach didn’t push blame on the other team.  He took responsibility.  And he moved on.

What a great example!

So often when confronted with a problem, we seek to shift blame.  We don’t want to take responsibility.  We are typically looking to blame someone else.  We say things like, “I didn’t check them in correctly, BUT they were late checking in.”

It’s time we took responsibility.  We must learn to take the BUT out of our responses.  My story should have simply been, “I didn’t check them in correctly.”  Period.  No BUT….

I should have apologized to the coach and sent him to the officials tent (the officials were the only ones who could change the lane assignments).  Mistakes happen.  We need to take responsibility for our mistakes.  And we need to move on.

Hopefully, this didn’t ruin the day for the coach and his team.  It was a beautiful day for a track meet, and the rest of the meet seemed to go very well.

Do you struggle with shifting blame?  How can you take responsibility today?  What suggestions do you have for taking the BUT out of your responses?


8 more days until the release of On Track – Life Lessons from the Track & Field!



Jon Stolpe


Christ-follower, husband, dad, engineer, manager, runner, blogger, sax player, group life fan, freelance writer, and the list goes on...
  • Steve Y

    Does it come down to humility? Even when it is another’s partial fault, we still need to be careful not to throw them under the bus. I catch myself doing what you did. We need to be purposeful in all our responses. Easier said than done…..

  • It can be tough to take the blame. After all, society tells us everything is everybody else’s fault, you’re never responsible. So, one way to overcome this would be to begin shifting your mindset. When you feel the urge to say BUT so and so did this, catch yourself and figure out where your fault lies.

  • David Stolpe

    Sometimes I struggle a lot with this.

  • Dan Erickson

    I shift blame from time to time, but wouldn’t say I struggle with it. Now my eight-year-old daughter is a different story. According to her nothing is her fault. It’s usually my fault. That’s kids I guess. 🙂