As I believe I’ve mentioned before, I’m a die-hard Penn State fan. I went to school there, it is where I met my wife, and it was a positively life-changing experience for me.
It also set the stage for my enjoyment of football as a sport and pastime. For someone who isn’t a big sports person during the rest of the year, fall and early winter are a time where I am very focused on both college and professional sports.
So, it was with a fair amount of enthusiasm that I turned on the Penn State game this past Saturday evening. We had friends over, and while we were outside of the family room, I hustled back in every few minutes to check on the score and report back (the Cubs game was on too, which everyone else was infinitely more interested in). Anyway, and to make a long story short, I fell asleep at the start of the fourth quarter, happily having recorded it, and with a very close game in progress.
On Sunday morning, I watched some of the most exciting fifteen minutes of football history (in my humble opinion, anyway), as Penn State went on to beat Ohio State (then ranked #2) in an incredibly exciting game.
As the game came to a close, one of the announcers mentioned “It was an unbelievable win.”
And it was.
But it also got me to thinking about the value of those unbelievable wins, and how sometimes, we need them in order to really spark change and keep initiatives moving forward.
When we experience a win that evidence seemed to say was incredibly unlikely, or when all signs seemed to tell those in our community that it just wasn’t possible, and it becomes possible, then we have an incredibly powerful opportunity to use the momentum the situation has provided us with to do more good work.
What we need to be careful of, of course, is letting that momentum remove our laser-focus on doing what is good for those we serve. I’ve watched too many football games end in a loss because a team becomes too complacent, or too excited. Same too with professional opportunities that present themselves and that people then rush in for without thinking deeply, or react in a less than professional way, making it more difficult to capitalize on the opportunity.
There is tremendous value in unbelievable wins. And once they occur, we need to remember that it is okay to get lost in the moment for a bit so long as we pick back up and keep moving forward.