In life, as in football ;)


Q: What type of soccer fan are you?
A: I’m glad you asked. In team based sports, I always root for the underdogs, except in tennis (because Serena) and other individual sports >> where the better player needs to win. I grew up in the heyday of ManU and its EXTRA fans, and at that time I just wanted anyone playing ManU to win, but they’ve been humbled in recent times, so…

I don’t know much about soccer, and I am sure the tell is that I call it soccer.

On Saturday, I walked across the living room during the ManU vs. ManCity match. I should mention at this point that I was born in Manchester. I know enough to know that this is called a Derby (ha!) and that it is serious business. Made more so by the fact that ManCity only had to win this game to clinch what we’ve all known was theirs for the last couple of months (one of the main themes of this write up).

I am sure the technical aspects of this match have been analyzed and re-analyzed all over the internet. I was only in the vicinity of this game for approximately 15 minutes, yet here are 4 life lessons that resonated with me based on the progression of the game, reaffirming the widely held belief that life is able to teach us lessons at every point in time and from every situation:

It is a powerful strategy to give yourself as much buffer as possible
Manchester City has won the title this year, with 6 games to play they are 13 points ahead of the team at number 2, Manchester United. The plan on Saturday was to win the game, and in so doing put 19 points between them and ManU and celebrate, but that has been deferred for 2 more wins (or 1 win and 1 draw) assuming ManU keeps winning and ManCity doesn’t lose. But we can save the energy required for analyzing statistical probability for the World Cup, for the last couple of months, even as I bystander, I’ve been aware that this season of the EPL was all but already over and ManCity was winning the league.

It occurred to me that this is the type of margin that we (really I) ought to seek in our lives, the level of excellence that we should strive for, the type of safety net we should seek to build in order to live a life of sustained comfort >> particularly when it comes to obvious concerns like financial stability, but also as pertains to our emotional wellbeing, physical health, spiritual strength >> we should do the work to ensure that we have reservoirs upon reservoirs (or a hand full of jokers) as my people say adamama (you never can tell, shit happens).

When opportunity comes, take it and RUN with it
So after their first two goals, the only goals that happened in my almost presence (I was in an adjacent room), ManCity missed 2 goals in quick succession. I remember my dad commenting that one of the misses should never have happened. We can unfairly speculate that the strikers were feeling really comfortable based on their early success. And this is a no no. This is almost always what happens to big companies, they rest on their laurels (I guess this is what comfort does) and let small upstarts dig in their heels or their teeth and grab pounds of flesh from their market share. The amazing thing about biases and predictable behavior is that those who want to, can protect themselves from falling into the trap. In this case, by reminding yourself to, and creating structures that, ensure that you remain scrappy and hungry even when you are the biggest and the best (or even the only >> this is what FANG does and does well, at least for now).

Never stop fighting
Although I don’t really actively watch sports (except during playoffs, super bowl, world cup, etc. >> finals really) and you may conclude that I am jumping on the bandwagon, but I’m really only there for the adrenaline. I do watch a LOT of sports movies and shows (all of them), from Little Rascals to the Replacements to Coach Carter; and as I result, I have come to understand (believe?) that half-time speeches have the power to transform underdogs into champions (do you now see where rooting for the underdog comes from).

I would bet a lot of money that the half-time speeches in ManCity and ManU’s locker rooms were vastly different. We are talking about sportsmen here, so they will always be encouraged to play their hearts out; this is what they do, it is who they are. But I wager that the ManCity players were told to defend their position, get in a couple more goals to lock this thing up. Whereas ManU players were more than likely told, “full hearts, can’t lose” ala Friday Night Lights. Scratch that, the speech they got must have been LEGENDary, they scored 2 goals within 10 minutes of the start of the 2nd half. Being a bit of a motivational/inspiration speech junkie, I’d love to hear the words that got the Little Engine that could to deliver 3 goals! I need to tape that onto my office wall or laptop monitor.

When I heard that ManU won, I was gobsmacked, I think I flew off the couch, definitely sat upright. We had already put the champers in the fridge to chill. I am sure so many people lost money on this game.

It's not over until it is over, and in life, it's not over until we are in the ground. So Start over. Keep fighting. Don't quit. Iterate. Try harder. Start over.

That buffer again, that’s the real Macoy
BUT, this loss doesn’t matter, because that margin is so wide, it would take an act of God (tossing salt over my left shoulder while knocking on wood). Point #1 is the major key >> start building your buffer.

Best of luck!