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You Don’t Win (or Lose) on the Last Play

December 9, 2009

Jordan_last_shot_1999I posted a blog entry a while back about how sports teams never really win or lose on the last shot.  There is usually a major moment in a game that we, as fans, feel defines the outcome, and quite often that moment is on the final play.  But in reality every moment during the game leads to the next and eventually concludes with a winner and loser (and the occasional tie in some sports).

You’ve seen it before.  Team A has the basketball and they’re down by one point and there are five seconds on the clock.  In those five seconds they hit a buzzer beating shot and win.  Sure it all came down to those last five seconds, but what if Team A had hit all its free throws throughout the game and that kept them within one point at the end?  It would have been those free throws that really won the game for Team A.  In reality, even though it appeared that Team A won the game on the last shot, they really won the game somewhere in the first half when they hit their first free throw.

Recently the high school football finals were played here in Indiana, and one team was outraged when the ref made a call in the end zone on the final play in regulation that allowed the trailing team to tie the game.  Ultimately the trailing team triumphed in overtime and the losing team made a stink for several weeks about that one call by the ref on that one play.  But what about the sixty or seventy other plays during the game?  What if earlier in the game the losing team had stopped the winners on a third down, recovered a fumble, made an interception, or blocked a punt prior to that one “bad call”?  Whether the ref made a bad call or not, why put yourself in that position?  If your team is good enough, don’t let the other team hang around to pull out the win at the end.

Isn’t this really how many of us live our lives.  We blame the problematic moment that we are in instead of acknowledging all the prior decisions we made that put us in this spot.  So instead of complaining about the spot we are in, why not take a different attitude and start planning a way to get through the negative situation and make it a positive?  Let’s not blame the “last play” for our problems, but acknowledge our part in being where we are at and then move forward and prepare for the next game.

Imagine if the coach for your favorite team only prepared his/her team for the last play of the game.  Let’s hope your teams coach is preparing for everything that happens from beginning to end.  Let me encourage you to start making the decisions that win the game before you get near the end so that you won’t feel inclined to blame it on the last play.

You can read my original post at jacklugar.com

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2 Responses to You Don’t Win (or Lose) on the Last Play

  1. Mike inPike on December 9, 2009 at 11:23 pm

    Really, most basketball games are won and lost at the free throw line, but even that has to take into consideration – HOW do you get to the free throw line?? and how often??

    –take it from an old Trojan from Freehaven 😉

  2. Jackodile on December 10, 2009 at 8:00 am

    You’re spot on, Mike.

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