Monday, August 11, 2008

Gotta Finish To Win

I awoke early yesterday to watch the U.S. Men's Soccer Team take on the Netherlands in their second round round robin match for the Olympics. I am a huge soccer fan but was, like most American soccer fans, worried about this particular match. The chemistry laced Netherlands were a heavy favorite against our upstart boys from the states. It became obvious why, when the Dutch took a commanding lead scoring on the U.S. in just the 16th minute.

It would have been easy for our boys to roll over. After all, many a soccer match is decided by just a single goal and one scored that early has the potential to break the back of even the strongest of teams. However the USA pride powered through and they charged back in the second half with a vengeance scoring two goals to take a commanding and somewhat shocking lead. A win of this match would guarantee the U.S. team of a spot in the Olympics quarterfinals.

The Dutch team was on its heals most of the second half as the American's kept up the pressure, sensing a huge upset was in sight. The U.S. men forced the Dutch to scrap their game plan and play defensively throughout the second half. Our team played brilliant and had an almost flawless second half. Notice I said almost.

As the game extended past the 90th minute into extra time, a penalty gave the Dutch players one last gasp of breath. As the American men lined up to build a wall in front of the Dutch player who was to take the penalty kick you just sensed this was it. Block this ball and the game is over - we win!

Seconds remained and this would likely be one of the last plays of the game. They waited patiently for the referee to blow his whistle. Time seemed to stand still waiting for the kick. The announcers were talking but I could not hear them over the beating from my own chest.

The next sound was the thump of the ball wizzing by the defensive wall and into the back of the net. Just like that the Dutch had tied the game. Moments later, the game and the hopes of an American upset on this day were suddenly over.

Now its one of those great moments in sports that we all know can happen. The winning kick that brings your team back from behind. As a kid I dreamed of being in that exact position as I kicked winning goal after winning goal into the makeshift net in my front yard. The roar of the crowd, the excitement of being a nation's hero and of course being taken off the field on the shoulders of your teammates. That's what dreams are made of and perhaps those dreams were what the Americans were focused on a little too much; at least until that kick was taken.

In life and in business you have to not only put yourself in a position to win but you have to finish to win. Lest life shows how quickly it can giveth and how easily it can taketh away.

The American's live to see another day but must likely win their last gave of the round robin to advance to the quarterfinals. For many of us we don't get another game - another second chance.

What do you need to go finish in order to collect your victory?

Ripple On!!!

1 comment:

Sue said...

I just need to defeat myself. haha.