Tapping Out

Tapping out (from the combat sports) is yielding to your opponent. Defeat is immediate.

In football, tapping out—for anything less than being unconscious—is considered a disgrace. Take the Bears’ Jay Cutler, who refused to re-enter a critical playoff game after a minor injury. Astonished fans derided him as he sat on the sidelines and victory slid from their grasp. The price? A Super Bowl berth.

The fans aside, he also lost the respect, trust and confidence of his teammates. And in financial terms, his value as a quarterback took a large hit.

Successful professional athletes, most especially in football, will tell you that they never consider tapping out. That the moment it’s on the table as a viable alternative, the psyche leans to it when times get tough.

Quitting is simply not an option. You can vary your moves and try new tactics, but if you’re still conscious, you need to stay in the game.

Tapping out is for sissies.


  • Athletes with permanent brain damage from concussions, especially football players and boxers, now wish they had viewed their health as more important than winning a game. See http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/the_hidden_brain/2011/01/the_national_braindamage_league.html.

    As Robert Bolt had Sir Thomas More say, “But for Wales?”

    Staying in the game is one thing, but no permanent physical damage please.

  • I have lost count of the number of times I have had the opportunity to “tap out” and stood tall to fight the next fight. There can be no “quit” in our DNA if we strive to succeed.

  • I love it… “tapping out is for sissies.” It’s a great message because it’s the 80% who give up way too early and end up among the mediocre masses.

    Go all in and stay all in until the job is done!
    It’s not macho, it’s just plain common sense!

    Bravo, Rochelle!

  • Interesting dilemma posed here following your Halloween commentary that one might be better to disengage or move on.
    To continue the Football analogy and coming after a day when my beloved JETS took out the bills and the Giants did in the Pats for them, one been to select the right strategy. In the course of a game, it might make sense to run the ball and take the Field Goal or even punt and rely on your defense than take certain chances that could aid an opponents chance. Strategy matters and sometimes good strategy requires re-grouping, study and revising or refining — if not throwing out and devising a totally new plan — to execute.

  • I love all you non-quitters!

    Corey, I think the distinction (from the Vampire post) is that sometimes people are toxic and we simply must disengage if we want to do great work. But I think of that as changing strategy vs quitting the game. Rex Ryan is a brilliant strategist/coach (did you see him on “Hard Knocks”)?

  • Tapping Out: I believe that in Negotiations:” One needs to know when to stay, when to hold, and when to run…”.

  • Hi Rochelle, here in the UK we had a similar situation, where a premier league soccer player refused his manager’s instruction to warm up in preparation for taking the field. He is now unplayable by that team and has probably reduced his chances of any future role at the top. Your analogy holds up when we need to work through some of the discomfort life throws at us, and I agree with your commentators that we need to be aware when quitting is the right thing to do. For example, ignoring our family, our health or emotional well-being is in no-one’s interest in the medium or longer term. But resilience in the face of challenge is actually stimulating and life-affirming – so go for it!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.