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What Ohio State Football Can Teach You About Your Business
If you follow college football, you’ve probably crossed Ohio State once or twice. Their football program is very old and very prestigious.
But I still shiver at the thought of seeing them get beaten by Oregon in the Rose Bowl. (Yeah, I’m pretty sure they’ll lose although I hope I’m wrong.) As a Big Ten fan, I’m really tired of seeing Ohio State get hammered in these major national games.
(Of course, if MY team, the Wisconsin Badgers, ever beat them in conference, maybe this would all be different, but I digress.)
For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what was going on. Why has Ohio State won so many games only to constantly embarrass the Big Ten in big non-conference games? Jim Tressel is an excellent trainer. Is not it?
Well, this year, I finally got my answer. Yes Jim Tressel is an excellent trainer. But he plays not to lose. He doesn’t play to win.
And that’s why, my friends, he loses the big games. Because these teams come to win. And Tressel comes not to lose. (And that’s why he’s probably going to lose to Oregon in the Rose Bowl because Oregon has been playing to win all season.)
So what exactly does it mean to play not to lose? Well, that means playing very conservatively. You kick the ball rather than going for it in 4th and runs. You are aiming for the field goal rather than the touchdown. You build very strong defenses. You commit very few penalties. You have a very well trained team.
It also means that you don’t take risks. You don’t have a quarterback throwing the ball down the field in interrupted plays that can result in an interception or an 80-yard touchdown. You also don’t win many shootouts. And if your game plan isn’t working, you don’t have many options because you don’t have to.
And you’re also pretty uninteresting to watch. (Sorry Buckeye fans but it’s true.)
Now can you win games by playing not to lose? Absolutely. Tressel has a very respectable record. (Much better than my Badgers.) He won the Big Ten title almost every year.
The problem comes when it comes to the big games. Now, I’m not a coach and I’ve never played football, but I watch a lot of stuff and here’s what I think is going on. If you can’t stop Ohio from executing their game plan, you’re toast. If Ohio can execute their game plan, they will do it very well and will probably beat you.
But, if you throw a wrench in that game plan, if you throw them out, well, Ohio has a problem. They do not know how to improvise and do not take risks. And if you don’t try your luck, especially when the chips run out, you probably won’t win those matches.
So what about you? Do you play not to lose or do you play to win? Sure, you can play well not to lose, but you’ll never play as important a match as you could be. Play to win, sure you might fall on your face once in a while, but you’ll probably end up playing bigger than you ever thought possible.
So what does it mean to play to win or to play not to lose? I’ll talk more about that in next week’s article.
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