Time is Running Out
We’re approaching the end of the calendar year. It’ll be here before we know it so we have to keep our heads down and try our best to finish strong. The question is, are we ready for everything that could happen to use between now and the last tick of the clock?
This past weekend the sports world witnessed two of the biggest rivalry games end in dramatic fashion. In both “The Game” and “The Iron Bowl“, there was tremendous action for the first 59 minutes (3+ hours in real-time) but both games were decided in the closing seconds.
In “The Game” between Ohio State and Michigan, the teams traded touchdowns all afternoon. As the underdog Wolverines scored with just :35 seconds to go to pull within 1 point, they decided to try to win the game by going for a 2-point conversion. Ohio State called a timeout to get their defense set. Michigan called a play they felt would give them the best chance to upset their hated rival and ruin their National Championship dreams.
The season hung in the balance as 100,000+ in Michigan Stadium and millions more around the world watched on television as the ball was snapped. A few seconds later, as a Ohio State defender intercepted the pass attempt at the goal line, the Buckeyes had avoided the upset. Celebration (and relief) began in Columbus and throughout Buckeye Nation; heartbreak and agony for the Wolverines.
Almost everyone said “it was the right call” for Michigan to go for the win. Both teams were ready for the play. One team executed under extreme pressure and emerged victorious.
In a game full of plays, it came down to one play.
Down on the Plains
Later in the evening, over a thousand miles away from Ann Arbor, Michigan,The Iron Bowl was being played between top-ranked Alabama and 4th ranked Auburn. The game would not only decided the SEC West Champion, it would have a huge impact on the National Championship game. The exact same game that Ohio State was battling to earn an invite to.
The teams traded scores. Both teams made great plays. They each made huge mistakes. The coaches on both sides had to make decisions quickly as the game progresses. Some worked perfectly while others will be second-guessed for years. Should they go for it on 4th down? Should they kick a field goal? Why didn’t they call a timeout?
It appeared the game would be headed into overtime after the Alabama runner ran out-of-bounds on what appeared to be the final play. Yet Alabama was given one more second on the clock. 0:01 instead of 0:00. A second in time that would become a lifetime for these two storied programs and passionate fan bases.
Alabama decided that rather than heave up a long Hail Mary pass to the end zone that they would instead attempt a long field goal to break the deadlocked 28-28 score and win the game.
The kick fell just short but Auburn wasn’t content to let the game go into overtime. An Auburn defender caught the ball as it fell short of the goal posts and started running. 109 yards later he was in the end zone, scoring the winning touchdown with no time on the clock. Pandemonium didn’t just happen in Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Alabama, it happened in every corner of the sports world. It was a finish that you wouldn’t have believed if you didn’t see it happen.
In both games, every player did everything they could to win the game. In the end, Ohio State and Auburn made one more play than Michigan and Alabama did.
They executed until the clock hit 0:00.
There’s Still Time on the Clock
Will you be scrambling to close out the year on a positive note? Are you going to let something sneak up on you and catch you unprepared? Who is the coach you’re looking to for the right play? Will you allow yourself to make decisions with the clock running down that you might not have made earlier in “the game” if you had more time to think and less pressure? Are you as prepared as you can be for the situations and scenarios that might occur?
Most importantly, are you going to do everything you can each day to insure that you still have a chance to leave the field a winner when the clock hits 0:00?
Here’s the play: Build relationships, solve problems and have fun. On three.
Ready? Hut, hut, hut.
Photo Credit: Derek Gavey via Creative Commons