A true story makes a decent business analogy.
It it said that one learns something new every day, and by that measure I met my quota early yesterday. To set the stage, I play soccer (football, for non-Americans) with a group of friends and acquaintances. The game is informal and non-aggressive, for fun and exercise, and we except adult players of any level, adjusting our play appropriately depending on the skills of each player. In the Winter, we play soccer indoors (as opposed to indoor soccer) due to the weather, obviously.
The group has found a new venue for playing, the Lansing Indoor Sports Arena, with a full-size pitch (i.e., field) on soft artificial grass known as ProGrass. Since this was just my second week back after a hiatus of more than a year, I had not played there yet. The field was very comfortable and the game was enjoyable. As usual, I played hard in the open field, but always tempered my play when near other players (or backed off entirely for the novices).
With about 3 minutes left in the game, we were attacking and had numbers on the defending team. I was free on the right wing and a teammate passed the ball a little too far ahead of me. Instead of letting the ball pass out of bounds, I tried valiantly to keep the attack alive by centering it. Honestly, I have no idea whether or not it worked, because my momentum carried me out of the end line, where my feet got tangled in the retaining net, causing me to lose my balance and slam into the solid block wall. I bruised and scraped my right elbow (which now rests on extra padding while I type this), along with sustaining other minor bumps.
The lesson: Unnecessary heroics are dangerous, and they are likely to cause one to stumble and fall down. It is better to make reasoned decisions by assessing the entire situation. Of course, it is easy to take a rash action when under pressure. Lesson learned.
Last week, there was a scheduling issue, so we played in a regular gymnasium, which is a completely different experience. Having not played for so long at that point, I let the competition get the best of me. I did too much running early in the game, so I was sucking wind and, therefore, less physically effective during the rest of the game. However, I was able to compensate by working more on my position and less on my speed.
The lessons: A quick and enthusiastic start does not assure success. Slow and steady wins the race. It is important to have a plan of action rather than simply reacting to the situation. Work smarter, not harder.
I do not intend to stretch the soccer metaphor any further at this time. However, if anybody in the mid-Michigan area is interested in playing early on Sunday mornings, you can write me at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Oh, yeah… We do not actually keep score, but I personally scored a hattrick (3 goals) plus 3 more assists in the game, so the day went pretty well for me, bloody elbow notwithstanding.