Keep Fighting … You Never Know What Might Happen

“And I know what I have to do now. I gotta keep breathing. Because tomorrow the sun will rise. Who knows what the tide could bring?” – Chuck Noland (played by Tom Hanks), Castaway

I caught the last few minutes of the Uruguay versus Ghana soccer match yesterday. It was quite a show. Toward the end of extra time, the end of stoppage time in extra time, Ghana played the ball into “the area” and had a couple of shots on goal. The goalie punched at the first, a Uruguayan forward, Luis Suarez, back in a last-ditch defense, kicked the second off the line at the last moment. The third came in the form of a header. Again it was Suarez, this time knocking the ball away with his hand. This, of course, resulted in an immediate red card and a penalty kick.

Now, ordinarily this is a bad deal. Suarez took away a guaranteed goal in exchange for a PK (an all but certain goal) and losing a player (a significant disadvantage the rest of the way). This time though, it was a no-brainer. If the goal goes in, it is game-over and Uruguay goes home. The player disadvantage doesn’t mean much since extra time is over and we’re headed towards a shootout. The 10% chance of stopping a PK, followed by a 50% chance of winning a shootout (5% aggregate), looks better than the 0% chance of winning if the goal goes in. So, Suarez took the handball, and gave his team a chance.

What happened next was utterly painful if you were pulling for Ghana and nigh on miraculous if you were pulling for Uruguay – Asamoah Gyan missed the PK off the crossbar. We’re headed to a shootout. Gyan made amends in the shootout by knocking his PK home. However, Uruguayan goalie Fernando Muslera blocked two other tries and Sebastian Abreu gave Urugay the victory on the last PK, in what the British commentator described as a “cheeky” shot. (Words can’t do it justice, go youtube it and watch the video.)

Suarez, one of Uruguay’s best players, will miss the next game due to the automatic one-game suspension for a red card. But I imagine he’s a national hero today. He sacrificed himself and gave his team a chance, a faint glimmer of hope. But any faint glimmer of hope is better than none.

So keep fighting out there, no matter what you’re facing. Keep giving yourself, or your team, or your family, or your friends and neighbors a chance to win. Even a faint glimmer of hope is better than none – and you never know what might happen next.

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6 Responses to Keep Fighting … You Never Know What Might Happen

  1. Pingback: World Wide News Flash

  2. beverlylynn says:

    So you approve of strategic cheating. Even though, statistically it made sense, I will be routing doubly for the Netherlands today. I was going to be routing for them anyhow, but would rather not see a team who advanced on a handball make it to the finals. Plus orange is an awesome color and they have yet to lose during this World Cup. :0)

    • Jessee says:

      Three thoughts on the matter:
      1) Thems the rules. If the cost of not committing the infraction (i.e. losing) is higher than the penalty (sitting out a game), then do it.
      2) If it seems unfair, then perhaps the penalty should be more severe to discourage it.
      3) It’s those kind of strategies that drag out the last two minutes of college basketball games for another 20 minutes. You can thank Duke and Chapel Hill, the roots of all evil, for that =P

  3. nomasir says:

    I have to agree with Jessee on this one … with the exception of that nonsense about Chapel Hill. (Seriously Jessee, what fellowship do darkness and light have? That you would include them in the same sentence and group them under a similar offense is reprehensible.)

    Christian folks tend to treat “cheating” that way because we view it through the lens of sin. However, sin carries with it an infinite cost function: separation from God, potentially forever, which integrates to infinite cost. Rules of play rarely carry such a cost.

    Besides, the point of the game is to win. If Suarez had NOT taken the handball to extend the game, then he would have acted wrongly, perhaps immorally (though it really isn’t a moral question). He had an obligation to do whatever he could to win the game.

    The one place I will back off on this is in regards to actual morality. To kill one’s opponent, or disfigure him for life, for the sake of the win is not justified. The game is not more important than that.

    But, the game is as important as itself. If Suarez violated morality of the game in order to accomplish the purpose of the game (to win) then I argue he violated no morality at all.

  4. beverlylynn says:

    “Highly competitive play is encouraged, but never at the expense of mutual respect among competitors, adherence to the agreed upon rules, or the basic joy of play.”

    See, I am an Ultimate player, a self-reffed. The rules and fouls are constructed in such a way that it is assumed that all fouls and infractions were unintentional. It is called the “Spirit of the Game” and yes it is in the rule book and there is even such a thing as a “Spirit Foul” although I have only seen that called once in nearly 8 years of playing.

    There are a few jerks here and there that make the game no fun, (my game last night included one of them) but for the most part, we play well and highly competitively without ever having to purposely break rules. And as a side note, those jerks are well known in the leagues I play in and for the most part, no one wants to be on their teams or play with them OR against them. So I come from a different mindset that has nothing to do with being a Christian or not. :0) Rules are constructed to make the game. If you don’t have boundaries in which to play, where is the challenge? It would be an entirely different problem. So the challenge is to play and to succeed within the boundaries defined. Like poetry, or mathematical proofs, etc.

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