We all know people who pride themselves on being able to finish a job in record time, and we all know that few of them give a care to the quality of their workmanship when beating the clock is the focus of their attention. People who take shortcuts are usually “flashes in the pan” who can’t endure market saturation or decline, much less quality competition. This principle is as true in business as it is in sport. Take the U.S. Women’s World Cup Soccer Team and their quarterfinal match against Brazil this past weekend.
Following a tragically blown call by the referee, the U.S. Defender, Rachel Buehler, was ejected from the match with a red card for a foul she did not commit. As the Brazilian player took the penalty kick, the U.S. Goalie, Hope Solo, dove to save the day, and blocked the shot. A riot of emotion broke out when the referee added insult to injury by forcing a re-kick for another non-existent infraction. The second time around, Hope Solo wasn’t as lucky and Marta, the tough Brazilian, converted to tie the match 1-1. With Buehler out of the game, the U.S. was forced to play the rest of the match with only ten women, while the Brazilians played with a full eleven.
At the end of 90 minutes of regulation play, the match was tied 1-1, and extra time was needed. Just minutes into extra time, Brazil’s Marta scored another goal with the assistance of a teammate who was clearly offsides. Yet, the referees failed to make the call. The U.S. team was still playing down a man, and just as hope was beginning to dwindle for the U.S. Ladies team and the Brazilians seemed to have a victory firmly within their grasp, the ladies in bright yellow and green made definitively huge error.
Instead of continuing to play the match as professionals, they began to play to manage the clock. With case after case of gamesmanship (like faked injuries and rocketing the ball out of play to drain precious minutes left on the game clock), the Brazilians quickly lost the favor of the crowd. Regardless of the bad tactics and shortcuts their opponents were taking to clinch a victory, the U.S. Women stayed true to their course- and at the 122nd minute, a perfect feed by Megan Rapinoe launched into the air, carried the distance, and was beautifully deflected via a picturesque header by Abby Wambach directly into the Brazilian’s goal. (See the goal here: http://youtu.be/JOAJn8h6VAI )
Monday Morning Perspective:
“There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.“ –Beverly Sills
“Too often the shortcut, the line of least resistance, is responsible for evanescent and unsatisfactory success.” – Louis Binstock
After fighting their way back from certain competitive death (the U.S. would be eliminated from the World Cup with another loss), the U.S. Women entered the shoot out looking calm and collected. Hope Solo made one of the best stops of her career- diving up and out- deflecting one of Brazil’s shots off her gloved hands to ensure the victory. Abby Wambach and her four shooting teammates all drilled their shots past the Brazilian goalkeeper to clinch the victory in one of the most epic matches in Women’s World Cup history.
Had the Brazilians not elected to take cheap shortcuts, they might very well have beaten the U.S. But with poor judgment comes poor results. The U.S. women are headed into the Semifinals to face France, and the ladies from Brazil are headed home.
Before you consider taking a shortcut to save time or expense, make sure you ask yourself if the outcome will be everything you hoped it would be. If the answer is no, stay true to the course you’ve chosen, and don’t waiver in your commitment. It didn’t work for the Brazilians- and it won’t work for you. Hard work is the only thing that really pays off in life- so don’t be short-changed by shortcuts.
Have a wonderful week!
© Crystal Dyer 2011. All rights reserved.