It’s a Saturday afternoon in the beginning of March in a small church gym. This gym has a full-sized basketball court equipped with a state of the art carpet floor. (Actually, it’s pretty good). Here on this particular Saturday you see two competitive men’s league teams going at it in a back and forth game. Although it’s just a men’s rec league game, it gets very competitive.

Late in the second half, one of the guys on our team has a breakaway “clear path” lane to the basket, when he is intentionally pushed from behind. The “intentional foul” was not called, although it was an obvious call, and members from both team start shouting. Guys from our team were hollering at the ref because it should be two shots and our ball on an intentional foul. This could be the turning point in a close game. The official also gets caught up in the moment and yells back at our team.

Our team would go on to lose the game by 3 points. After the game, players are somewhat upset at the loss. It’s not the end of the world, but things get competitive. As our team was sitting on the stage area talking after the game, the official who missed the intentional foul call comes over to our team. He said, “Guys I’m sorry I let my emotions get the best of me. I’m sorry hollered back at you and said a cuss word. My bad.”

Immediately after he said this I shook his hand, and said, “No problem. Thank you.” All was good. There is a certain power in those two magical words: I’m sorry.

As soon as the referee said that, we instantly let the game go and had a higher respect for the him. This week we’ll discuss how these two magical words can help you in relationships, work, life, and on the court.

Relationships. It’s hard to admit error and fault but things go so much better when you do. Don’t be stubborn, as many of us often are. The quality of our relationships will grow with the level of trust. Trust does not exist if one person is always right and never admits mistakes. Admitting our faults is actually a sign of strength and will draw people in; not push them away.

Work. Actions always speak louder than words. Don’t make excuses. As Tony Dungy would tell his teams, “No excuses, no explanations.” If you mess up, don’t point a finger. Don’t make the situation worse by trying deflect the blame onto someone or something else.  Improve the mistake through your actions. If you come off as someone who is humble, relatable, and approachable people will want to work with you. However, if your ego’s too big, you will push people away.

The coach. A good coach is someone who is relatable. You can’t be relatable if you’re always right. As a coach, don’t be afraid to admit you made a mistake to your players. Own a bad call. Tell your players, “what I had us doing wasn’t working, so let’s change it.” When you do this it makes you relatable to the players. Tell them you’re sorry when you make a mistake, bad call, or put them in a bad situation. Saying you’re sorry tells them you really do love them and have their backs. It let’s them know it’s not all about you.

The Player. The number one responsibility of a player is to be coachable. Right behind that is the ability to make your teammates better. You can’t do that if it’s always someone else’s fault. There is no such thing as a perfect player, and no player has ever played a perfect game. There’s always room for improvement. Own your mistakes. Improve upon them. Get just a little bit better every single day. Again, trust is a major factor. You will not be trusted by your teammates if you’re always blaming them for mistakes. The more responsibility you’re willing to accept, the more trustworthy you become to your teammates.


So, remember the power of these two simple yet magical words.

Whether it is sports, work, or life we tend to view apologies as a sign of weakness (Sorry, Angie for the times where I’m too stubborn to apologize), but it’s actually takes great strength. A sincere apology shows genuine care and concern. It’s authentic. It can heal and promote healthy relationships. Be quick to forgive and even quicker to apologize. It shows strength.

If you’ve ever wanted to apologize to someone and didn’t, or know someone who can benefit from this message, please share it with them.

As always, thanks for reading, have a great week, and be an RGP today!

Coach Elmendorf is available to speak to your team, group, or organization. Message him for details.