Saturday, November 27, 2010

Not To Be

My dad and I are both big fans of the Boise State University football team. They suffered a crushing loss last night which ended their hopes for a possible national championship and invitation to a major bowl game. Yet, in the loss, one can glean a Taoist lesson.

With 2 seconds left to go in a tied game, Boise State lined up for a short field goal. As far as field goals go, it was only 26 yards -- what generally is considered a chip shot. The team's usually reliable kicker pushed the kick to the right and missed it. This meant the game went into overtime. In the overtime, the same kicker missed a short 29 yard field goal to left and the opposing kicker made his field goal.

On the surface, the kicker lost the game for his team. Had he made the chip shot at the end of regulation, the game would have been over and Boise State would have won. Had he made the field goal in overtime, Boise still had a chance to win.

But games are not won nor lost based on one play. All the plays that led up to the missed field goal tries could have gone differently. If a receiver had caught a ball that he dropped or a defensive player had made a tackle that he missed, the whole complexion of the game could have changed from there on.

For example, Boise State scored 24 points in the first half, but did not score at all in the 3rd and much of the 4th quarter. Had they scored one or more touchdowns, the kicker would not have even needed to try to kick a field goal.

So it is with our lives. We tend to focus on the acts directly before a negative occurrence and we don't look at all the missteps taken before that moment. If merely one of those missteps had not occurred, then the end result might have been altogether different.

For me, this is another reminder of the ripple effect. Every act or non-act creates ripples and from these ripples consequences occur.


  1. Good analysis; football is, after all, a team sport, and all plays are vital. Yet you know that kid is probably beating himself up over it, to say nothing about the rest of the team, the coaches, and the fans.

    Funny you should write this, as I and my whole family are huge University of Michigan fans. Love college football! (Hate Ohio State!) :)

  2. Do you think Rich Rod will survive to coach another season at the Big House?


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