People vs. Objectives

“Ball is life.” If I collected a dime for every time I’ve heard that phrase spoken in my life, I’d be able to give Warren Buffet or Bill Gates some rubs. Okay, that’s a bit of an over exaggeration but my point is clear. This phrase is a simple example of our very human tendency to blow things out of proportion. In other words, it is an example of our inability to put things that really matter at the top of our lists and to over emphasize those that really matter. A lot of the things that we emphasize are never really as important as we think. I was gently reminded of that this week during an intramural’s soccer game.

This was perhaps the most intense intramurals game I’ve played while in college. Our team went down 4–0 after the first half and my frustration levels were spiking. I was confident in my personal abilities to carry our team to a win and so I decided to take matters into my own hands — no matter the cost. Ten minutes remained in the second half and the scoreline was still 4–0. I play an over-the-top to my teammate in the box and the defender hits it with his hand. We are awarded a penalty and my teammate drains the shot. 4–1. Another 2 minutes go by and I rip a shot at the goalkeeper. It deflects off of him and my female teammate taps it in (female goals count as 2). 4–3. Another minute goes by and I receive a wall pass. I take a few dribbles to beat two players and I have a small window to take a shot. I take it and the ball rifles into the upper corner of the goal. 4–4. Within five minutes of time expiring, our team has a counter-attack and I make a long ground-pass to my teammate who is directly in front of goal. He clumsily kicks it and manages to beat the keeper. 5–4. The other team manages to score another goal that nut megs our keeper and we are tied 5–5. We go into sudden death overtime and within a minute our team is on the counter-attack once again after successfully defending a corner. “Now is my time,” I thought to myself. I coast down the length of the field and my teammate lays the ball perfectly off to me. I manage to outrun their two defenders that were back. I take two touches and I quickly cut the ball to my right which forces them both to overrun me. I have a split second to take a shot and I slide as I shoot in order to leave no doubt. The shot manages to beat the keeper as it rolls into the bottom left-corner of the goal. 6–5. The comeback is complete!

In spite of my lack of class and inappropriate expressions of frustration during the game, I was ecstatic for a moment. I felt like I had contributed significantly to something impressive. However, I failed to realize that one of my teammates had barely played, and that the game may not have been all that fun for some of my teammates — some of whom were at the receiving end of my negative words of frustration. This was a point of deep pondering for me.

I recently learned from a company executive that in my future career, I should never step over my peers for my own personal gain. According to that executive, this is a common practice in the corporate world. I feel like that is exactly what I demonstrated during the soccer match. If I am to really focus on things that matter — with human relationships being at the very top — I need to be better at placing them over personal objectives or accomplishments. It is within our competitive natures to win at all costs, to beat the man next to us. It may not even matter how much we have, but rather if we have more than those around us. However, I believe that striving to lift our peers and to see to their success is the true way to happiness. May we all — especially me — strive to adopt this attitude to make the world a better place.