Friday, October 7, 2011

Playing in Two Fields

By Charles Moncrief

”Colorado has the ball, it’s fourth and goal on the one yard line, and McCartney’s got a critical decision to make.”

(Well, it sells air time when you grab for someone’s emotions.)

When Bill McCartney was Colorado’s head coach, this was the sort of sensationalism that polluted the airways. While I have great respect for McCartney as a coach and as a man, I'm disappointed that he would later introduce one of his radio commentaries with that excerpt.

Less dazzling, less colorful, is the reality of what takes place on the field. For the most part, the decision was made quite some time ago, when the quarterback was huddling the team at midfield.  There’s enough pressure in the heat of the moment, at play execution, that such decisions need to be made earlier in the drive. Consider these two questions:

1. It’s fourth and goal, do we kick the field goal or do we try for the touchdown?
2. Knowing what we know while we’re 50 yards from the end zone, should we go for the touchdown or for the field goal IF we get to fourth and goal?

Coach McCartney knows several facts while his team is marching downfield. Among others, he knows the current score, the time remaining on the clock, the tone of the game at the moment. He’s a good guesser about some of the variables, such as the momentum shifts and the opponents’ ability to sniff out some of his team’s strategies. He also knows that to be fourth and goal requires some things to go right and some things to go wrong. While the team got inside the ten yard line, they failed to score in three downs.

With what he knows and with what he doesn’t yet know, the coach can form a game plan. If a key player gets injured as they approach the goal, or if a linebacker blows his coverage downfield, the coach can alter his plan. But what’s important is that the coach has a plan.

These are principles we can apply in the way we live our lives. I'll give a couple of examples, but none would be as good as the ones you’ll be able to come up with yourselves. So please consider this a launching point, and allow your own creative juices to flow.

You’re looking for work. You attend a lot of job fairs, you fill out a lot of online applications, and by some miracle you find two companies are expressing interest. After interviewing with one of them, the other company makes you a pretty good offer. So you think the interview went well, and you may get a better offer by waiting around. Or do you accept the one offer you have, or do you wait to hear from the company that called you in for an interview? (Yes, I know this is a fantasy world, but I'm being parabolic, so please work with me here.) By the time anything like this happens, you should have already worked out your strategy. Who deserves to be my employer? How much do I like one company over the other? If I like one company five thousand dollars more than the other, then what if the other guys offer me $10,000 more? Or what if the difference is $4,999? Or what if the company offering less offers to relocate you to Muleshoe, Texas? Depending on how you feel about Muleshoe, the relocation package may be enough to make your decision for you.

OK, so you have a job and you’ve started your probationary period. Do you have your excuses built up yet, to use when you show up late for work one morning, or you return late from lunch? Don’t you think it would be preferable to have these in your bag of tricks? Or would you rather have to think quickly on your feet when facing a boss who’s coiled up like a viper waiting to strike?

On a more serious note, I keep finding myself drawn to Susan’s book and this site’s namesake. You’re in a violent relationship, so you finally escape. You’ve been threatened with death, or you’ve had other serious threats made against you if you try to leave. You’ve long since discarded the fantasy that the Whistleblower Protection Act will protect you as a whistleblower. So you’re unprotected, undefended, and vulnerable. This is not the time to make public accusations against your abuser.  This is not the ideal time to be creating an Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit. (If you haven’t yet, there are reasons for doing so even this late in the process.) If you’re planning your escape, the EAA should be one of the very first things you do. The best time is when you can be methodical and stick to the facts. When you’re approaching the goal line, you have too much on your mind to be fiddling aound with the Affidavit.

There is no substitute for advance planning.

For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?

Luke 14:28 (KJV)
Grace and Peace,

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