THESPORTSDOC- Horrible day: How to deal when thing go wrong

Not very complimentary.

The other day I ran across a book from my childhood," Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" by Judith Viorst.  Remember that one? Alexander wakes up with gum in his hair, he has a cavity, there's kissing on television, and he has to eat butterbeans for supper. After a day like that, how would you want Alexander to act?

If Alexander were Larry Johnson, Kansas City Chiefs' running back, he would not hesitate to show his backside after a bad day. This past Sunday, the Chiefs lost at home to the San Diego Chargers, and not just a little bit. With a final score of 37-7, Sunday was truly a No Good day for the Chiefs, and number 27 had no problem turning just as ugly.

The Kansas City Star reported that "Hours after the Chiefs lost...on Sunday, Johnson made several controversial remarks on Twitter directed toward his coach, Todd Haley, and Haley's lack of football-playing experience" claiming that Coach Haley played more golf than football. Johnson went on, peppering his tweet with gay slurs, a habit in which he also indulged Monday when speaking to reporters. 

A psychiatrist might say that turning one's anger outward may not be preferable, but is nonetheless a natural reaction to disappointment and anger. It must be so, because as of Tuesday, the Chiefs had not taken any steps to punish the oft-suspended and arrested Larry Johnson for his derogatory comments. In fact, the opposite is true. Rather than taking firm charge of his errant running back, Coach Haley gave Johnson's remarks credence by playing into the disrespectful bully's homophobic hands. 

"I'm very proud of what I've done to get to where I am," Haley said. "I'm very proud of my results as a position coach, as a coordinator. Right now, am I proud of my head coaching record? No. But I intend to do everything I can to change that."

It seems two people need to get taken to the woodshed.

Contrariwise, the behavior of Redskins' running back Clinton Portis is nothing if not excusable. During Washington's abysmal offensive performance Monday night, Portis punctuated his return to the sidelines by removing his helmet and hurling it at a bench. The former Hurricane didn't throw his helmet at anyone, and he didn't curse or scream, but 43 total rushing yards seem worth a little helmet throw, don't they? 

Watching the game Monday night, one should be thankful for Portis' display of temper, considering it was about the only sign of life the Redskins' showed. Everyone responds to a Terrible, Horrible day differently, but a predominant reaction of tucking of tails between legs is just as counterproductive as Larry Johnson's bigoted tantrum.

There was no missing QB Jason Campbell's hangdog face on the sideline, nor his teammates' depression. According to Albert Haynesworth, it didn't get any better in the locker room, where the defensive tackle didn't bother to give his usual postgame pep talk.

"You can say but so much. You've got to actually want to. Once we get to that point where we want to do something, then we'll be something. If we keep going our separate ways, we just keep getting slaughtered like we have... I'm feeling lost. Like I don't know which way to turn right now."

Then there was linebacker London Fletcher's postgame embrace of Eagles' QB Dovovan McNabb. Fletcher was all smiles, high-fiving McNabb and following up with the man hug. Good sportsmanship demands congratulating the winner but stops short at dismissing a loss. Fletcher wasn't the only Redskin to give McNabb love while Jason Campbell stood off by himself. Washington's offensive line looked the same after the game as they did during– like they had played the whole time for the Eagles and were happy to leave their own quarterback out to dry.

 So what's the right reaction to a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day? Understandably, Alexander wanted to move to Australia, but we all know that's no more the answer than depression or bad behavior. Perhaps the better question is how does one keep a bad day from making oneself Very Bad in return?


Juanita Giles lives in Keysville where she makes videos and updates her">Sports Doctor site.