Saturday, September 05, 2009

Get that ball.

I'm not quite sure about how to react in particular situations where I find myself an involved observer.  

I'm at the back of a team bench, watching a basketball match obviously rooting for the team in front of me. I'm friends with them. I'm friends with the captain and I know the coach.  The first three quarters sees the usual ball game.  Alternate possessions, they make the baskets, close fight.  We understand that this is where the foundation is laid. It's where we have the opportunity to build a lead large enough to secure the last quarter but we don't take advantage of this for a lot of reasons that are difficult to point out. Missed free throws are among them.  Nonetheless, we get to keep the lead in the first three quarters albeit at a nominal margin.

We've realized before that it's really a combination of offense and defense, strategy and tactics. The best teams aren't just the ones who make the most baskets -- the best teams are those who can intelligently set-up and execute plays that will make the most baskets.  It's not enough to know how to shoot. Even the best three point gunners do not succeed based on sheer talent alone. It is after all a team sport where everything needs to fall into place and the contribution of every individual counts.

We now find ourselves in the fourth quarter, where it really matters, with not a lot of bullets to spare.  We're almost in foul trouble and the opposition has managed to stay close to us.  We miss some shots, fail to grab some rebounds... they've become stronger now.  They have taken over.  They are leading and are on the offensive. Pressure is mounting. The team is in panic. We could lose. They have gained a 5-point lead.

Crunch time.

It's during these times when I think the captain plays a bigger role on the court.  The coach is there, calling the shots from the sidelines, but he can only do so much.  It's up to the boys to execute.  When the team is downtrodden, crumbling and desperate, it is the captain who is expected to lift their spirits up. He is the leader on the court. The mantra is to never give up.

But what happens when the captain is the first to breakdown? Who will lead the team? Who will make them realize the possibilities? Who will motivate them to rise up and react positively to the challenge? What do you do if the captain is giving up on the fight?  What does the coach do when he sees that it's his captain who gives up first? 

In my perspective, as long as it is still realistically possible, we shouldn't be wasting time sulking at the corner and contemplating underachievement.  Because it is still realistically possible. The game is not over.

But it's easy for me to say.  After all, I'm just a spectator.

Last two minutes.