Not as Planned

Jul 30, 2021


What happens when you plan to compete at the Olympics and your teammate is disqualified? Get insights from a professional volleyball player.

My husband and I travel to Mexico for volleyball vacations. The week-long event includes tournaments of many types and clinics taught by professional beach volleyball players. We also take excursions and share meals with the pro’s. On several occasions, we’ve enjoyed tacos and conversation with the 6’7” Jake Gibb. This year, he is competing for an Olympic medal in Japan-- but things did not go as planned.

Gibb’s five-year teammate and fellow Olympic hopeful, Taylor Crabb, announced via Instagram that he had tested positive for COVID-19 “after taking every precaution, getting vaccinated & following protocols.” Crabb went on to say, “I’ve faced diversity before, and I will face it again, but it doesn’t take the sting out of [being disqualified].”1 Following that news and one of only two practices with his new teammate, Tri Bourne, Gibb also posted on Instagram:

Yesterday after practice I took a moment because I had to remind myself that just because this isn’t how we visualized things, we have to keep fighting. … We are so blessed to able to play here in Tokyo with everything going on. ~Jake Gibb, Olympian (via Instagram; 7/24/2021)2

How can we follow the example of a World Championship competitor?

  • Keep Fighting​: Gibb is no stranger to a good fight, he is a two-time cancer survivor and continued competing through injury and defeat.3 It’s not only playing every game to win, but also staying in top physical condition over an especially long athletic career. Winners don’t give up, they show up.
  • Be Grateful​: In response to a global pandemic, the 2020 Olympics were postponed by one year. Appreciating the opportunity to participate at all, let alone at the age of 44, fifteen years older than the average pro, Gibb conveyed his attitude of gratitude.4 Winners don’t complain, they rally.
  • Team Up​: By adding Bourne to the team, Gibb explained, “we are strategizing, planning, focusing TOGETHER”. Incorporating the input of a fourth team member, including Crabb and coach Rich Lambourne, strengthened the team even more. Winners don’t switch teams, they expand teams.

Participating in his fourth Olympics, Gibb, went on to win his first game with Bourne at his side! I’ve seen Gibb play in person and he’s good; he stuffed my husband once on the volleyball net (and I will be forever reminded that was the only photo I took). When you think about surprises, delays, and changes, what makes you keep fighting, have gratitude, and team up? Consider the advice would give yourself or others when facing adversity.


Sources: Crabb’s Instagram Post (07/23/21); 2 Gibb's Instagram Post (07/24/21); 3 Team USA; 4 Anthropometry of Volleyball Players; Gibb’s Strength & Conditioning Routine.

by Michelle Sugerman • Leading Synergies, LLC • © All Rights Reserved

Visit a Synergy Group and discuss the transformative Leadership Development and
Spiritual Growth presented in the Leader's Field Guide. Synergy Group Members
can access this week's Synergy Group Agenda in My Gym Bag.


Light-Hearted Wisdom for Serious Business


50% Complete