The US Men’s Soccer Team is sorry
I wanted to use another word that vacuum cleaners do, but this is a family column……….
Earlier this week, the team lost to El Salvador, 3-2, in extra time to see its Olympic hopes extinguish, even before the games start in July! They were playing in a qualifying tournament this month and had to be one of the top two teams in the five team pool to advance to the Olympics this year.
I think they were last…………..doesn’t matter because they are not going! The United States won’t be represented in men’s soccer because the team couldn’t qualify! This does not help the soccer movement in this country. How can any young player aspire to be in the Olympics or World Cup when the current team can’t qualify, so the child can watch it when his dream is new?!
It is just ‘sorry!’ (If you know what I mean.) So many young players have no team or role model to admire or strive to be like…………………and if they want to be part of the Olympic soccer drama, they have to buy an Italian or Brazilian jersey! Go outside the country because we don’t have any of that here.
I don’t know the mindset of the players but –for the sake of argument – let’s say that they were lackadaisical about the pool of teams. “Oh, sure, we can easily beat these guys!” might have been the mindset instead of taking care of business WHEN IT COUNTED!
They were overconfident, let’s say; or arrogant. It all works because they didn’t look at the task and have a sense of urgency in achieving a goal; the only goal in a finite list of qualifiers.
If we look at this idea, one can see that it happens all the time; in just about every facet of life. And individuals can do it, too! It is easy to remember a time when I was overconfident or uncaring which led to the undesired result. And I’ll bet you can think of a few instances yourself…………….
Even if this isn’t the case, I am going to use the US Soccer Team as my example to show why one can’t assume there’s another chance to make or do whatever it is you are making or doing.
In the team’s case, you are looking at four games and the opponents are in your geographical area. In other words, it is easy to think: “No problem! We’ve beaten some of them and we are better than the others.” So, you don’t take the games seriously………..even though the consequences of those games are SERIOUS. “We can lose the first or second game, but we’ve got the last two no matter what!”
Well, guess what?! The ‘team’ didn’t ‘have the last two no matter what.’
They assumed that it would all work out and no extra effort – even though they were playing for something important – was necessary. “We’re a shoe-in for the Olympics! Enjoy the games!”
Now, enjoy the ‘Games’ from your living room when you watch them on television in July………..
The best time to do anything is RIGHT NOW. On Monday night, the Lady Bears of Baylor University were playing in the game that would send them to the Women’s Final Four of basketball this season. I watched some of it and early on, it looked to me that the Baylor players weren’t showing that urgency that is necessary to achieve a BIG goal. They were just playing the game; not playing with a purpose.
Now, if you asked them or their coach or fans, they would say that of course they were playing hard! They knew exactly what was needed to get to the coveted FF, so they could then be national champs! The Lady Bears – if you didn’t know – have junior Brittany Griner, a 6 foot 8 inch player with all the right moves. She is easily the tallest player in women’s college basketball.
I could feel those players on Monday night playing like ‘We have Brittany G and even if we don’t win the championship this year, we’ve still got next year.’ Perhaps no one on the Baylor team was thinking that, but their play indicated that they were more than confident……overconfident that the championship would happen within Griner’s four years. It hasn’t happened yet!
Hey, players who don’t have urgency! Don’t win it NOW; and next year, one or more of your players could be injured or suspended or simply have to leave the team. Where does that leave your ‘championship’ ring? Too many things can happen in the unknown future, so play like today is it because it COULD be.
Here is another example – but I don’t think they thought without urgency – last year’s Texas Rangers and the World Series. They fought back to take a 3-2 lead in the best of seven series. They had two games to win only one; and they would be champions! You know what happened. They lost that first game (of the two left) in amazing fashion and were down to one game.
As soon as that first game was over, I knew that the Texas Rangers couldn’t win that second game even if the other team forfeited! When one is down to the last chance and you have squandered previous chances, the karma truck is going to pull into your driveway and unload a big pile of humility.
I have used sports teams as examples of this ‘urgency’ concept, but the idea works with individuals and almost all situations because attitude is a big part of success (or winning in the sports world). You have to know when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em as the song goes.
Just ask members of the 2012 U.S. Men’s Soccer Team or the 2011 Texas Rangers players…………………