Matt Harvey-Unrealistic Expectations In A World Of Uncertainty

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You could actually here the deep depression in the voices of Sandy Alderson, Terry Collins and Matt Harvey as the air went out of the room and the Mets universe as they spoke about Harvey’s UCL tear.

How could this have happened? There seemed to be an air of invincibility about Harvey a young, huge strapping figure with the demeanor of a tiger on the mound, which all lead and contributed to a feeling that Harvey was indestructible and at times invincible– in a career destined for the Hall of Fame.The former ideas were quickly dashed with the announcement of his Injury, and the later promise of a sterling career remains to be seen.

I am not one to project what is going to happen as I think it unwise– and lack a crystal ball to boot. I work with people all the time to accept uncertain outcomes, as they strive for certitude and guarantees to help emotionally stabilize themselves in an unpredictable world.

In this instance it would of involved Harvey’s pre and post injury status as we have no idea what was and is to come next.

Yet you could hear in the members of the media’s voices the rationale that Harvey will return as one of the pundits put it– better than he was before, as many who have had Tommy John surgery have done. Yet we do not know Harvey’s prognosis or course of treatment at the moment.

Perhaps they professed this to cheer up their spirits as they too indicated that they were stunned and crushed when they got the news that Harvey had fallen.

Sometimes people can do all the right things and the result and outcome are far from guaranteed.  This apparently was the case with the Mets as they took every precaution to protect Harvey from injury.

I sit with people all the time who expect outcomes equal to their efforts and when those outcomes are not realized they are disappointed and at times exacting.  Students today in particular feel entitled to grades based upon their perceived efforts and assessments of their products.

The Mets and their fans were desperate for a resurgence and a true superstar to complement their only star David Wright, who ironically is also on an extended disabled list stint.

This made the injury to Harvey all the more traumatic for all involved. And to Collins credit he professed shock and profound disappointment.

While it is may be endemic to sports fans to perhaps over elevate players , it is because of their need to root, have opinions, and over identify and become intensely involved with players and teams.  This at times causes them to lose objectivity about who and what the players are—as well as their capabilities and frailties.

Matt Harvey may yet turn out to be the Dark Knight for the Mets and their fans. It is the job of those within the organization to help the team recover and Alderson responded as one would expect and hope  in stating that; while the injury to Harvey was jarring, the organization would go forth and cope.

As for the fans perhaps a lowering of expectations and allowing what happens to unfold more naturally rather than make dogmatic projections about the future, might allow them to cope a bit better. In this manner fans and others can avoid being crushed when a star has fallen.

While it is only natural to be upset and crushed when things like this happen to players like Harvey who the organization was depending upon to anchor a staff that would lead them back atop the NL East and beyond, it is how crushed one is going to be– and how one copes when things like Harvey’s injury occur.

One of the ways to do this is to not get ahead of yourself and have expectations in a world where nothing is promised, and to understand that no matter how hard you try that the outcome is never certain.

(For more on this topic please read my recent post) http://psychologyofsports.com/2013/08/23/when-players-are-injured-many-are-emotionally-affected/