John Elway took over the reins of the Denver Broncos in 2011, and one of his first moves was to woo Peyton Manning. We all know that that was the beginning of a beautiful partnership, one that ultimately resulted in a Super Bowl win. As if Elway needed more accomplishments to endear him to the fan base…
But, Elway, smartly, started planning for a day without Peyton Manning. First, he drafted Brock Osweiler to be the heir apparent — we all know how that went down. Then, he drafted Paxton Lynch to be the heir apparent … and it would appear now that that didn’t work out.
In fact, there have, since that great day in 2012 when Peyton Manning came on board, been a number of blunders, missteps and flat-out misses with regard to player acquisition that has left the Broncos of 2017 as one of the least talented offensive football teams in the entire league. Just two years after being crowned the best team in the world, it looks like the Broncos are headed towards a top 5 draft pick, as one of the five worst teams in the league.
And, of course, that is not sitting well with the fan base. It would seem that the 30 year love affair between Broncos Nation and John Elway has soured to the point that there are many calling for John Elway to have his power within the organization severely scaled back. If you look as an accomplishment as making a deposit, and a failure/disappointment as a withdrawal, it would seem that, in the span of two very short years, John Elway has overdrawn on his account with some of the fans.
Of course, the sports world is not the real world. Not close. But there is a useful lesson in that extreme. Every relationship, with the exception of the parent-child relationship, can be thought of in those same terms of deposits and withdrawals. When you “open an account” with someone, you usually get a signing bonus — people tend to give others the benefit of the doubt at first. And, every time you do something valuable to them, even something small like being a good listener, you make a deposit; and every time you do something irritating or grating, you make a withdrawal. Big things make big changes to your account; really big things— abuse or cheating — sometimes cause the “bank” to close your account. Great part about most people is that you don’t even have to keep making deposits to keep your account in good standing — most of us want those relationships. But you do have to be aware of not constantly making withdrawals, and to treat this idea as a cynical mercenary exercise will always backfire.
Note: I exempt the parent-child relationship because, when everything is as it should be, a child can never overdraw from their parents — parents have open lines of credit with their children. That is the nature of unconditional love. So, parents and dogs, I suppose.
Once you understand this, then you have to start to figure out what a person’s “currency” is. For instance, I would love to buy my wife a set of golf clubs: that is big to me, it’s expensive, and you might think that a gift like that would be a large deposit in my account with my wife. But that would be to totally misunderstand my wife. Not only would that not even be a peso-sized deposit, it would actually qualify as a withdrawal. She hates golf. One of those clubs would quickly be turned around and used against me.
Relationships are hard. Humans are hard. Two humans together are even harder. But if you try to understand the people in your life, understand their currency, and be aware of your account status, it will make it a lot easier to maintain those relationships. And that means having a better life.
Michael Alcorn is a teacher and writer who lives in Arvada with his wife and three children. His novels are available at MichaelJAlcorn.com
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