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A lesson from the locker room

I have to admit that I am in mourning. No, my family and friends are fine, thank you. I’m mourning the Green Bay Packers’ overtime loss to the Arizona Cardinals yesterday. I’ve been a Packer fan since Vince Lombardi brought 7 titles to Titletown in 9 years. But it was equally thrilling to see them come so close to making a nearly miraculous comeback yesterday. Midway through the season, no one gave the Packers much of a chance at reaching the playoffs this year. But their 7-1 record in the second half of the season lead to yesterday’s shootout in the desert. And what lead to that second half record is what the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel called “Rant ‘n’ Roll.” After a humiliating loss to the previously winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Packers did a little soul-searching, and then a little finger-pointing. In other words, conflict. As some of the players put it, “no one walked out of that [locker room] meeting arm in arm like brothers.” But when they returned after a day off, quarterback Aaron Rodgers noted that something had changed. He felt something special was going to happen. And it did. The Packers were never humiliated again. Even yesterday, after being down by 3 touchdowns halfway through the 3rd quarter, they didn’t doubt themselves and managed to tie the game in regulation, sending it into overtime. Their locker room conflict and ranting had made them stronger. It doesn’t always happen that way. But a little ranting and conflict can be managed to produce something positive, if the parties are willing to listen and try to understand each other. Apparently, that is what the Packers did. I think that is a lesson that lawyers, business people, politicians, and diplomats would do well to study.

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