Can We Grow by Drawing all the Games?
Hidden potential of a draw result
“The only time football is liberated from misery is when the game ends in a draw. I mean, obviously, there is no winning euphoria but there is no suffering either. It is a peaceful outcome that appears in the balance between euphoria and misery,” Edo said.
“But football is not a game of peace. It is the game of euphoria and suffering,” Aksel objected.
“Why couldn’t it be a game of peace? Why are people so afraid of peace?”
“Because a draw is not peace to start with,” Aksel said. “It is stagnation. There is nothing worthwhile in a draw.”
“I don’t agree with that.”
“Ok, then give me one good game that ended in a draw,” Aksel challenged Edo.
“Hmm… We don’t need to go far in history to find one. The recent Manchester City — Liverpool match from 2022 had all a beautiful draw can offer, Edo said. “Liverpool somehow brought down a 14-points gap behind City to only a single point difference when they finally met at Etihad, with eight games remaining in the season. A single point!” Edo said. “After two crazy years that changed everything we knew about everything, those two clubs were still dominating the game as ever before. It was a game that had the potential to decide the championship. It was a clash of titans. Pep Guardiola versus Jürgen Klopp, De Bruyne versus Salah. It ended with a spectacular draw.
“That was a good game, indeed. I need to admit.”
“Kevin de Bruyne shocked Liverpool at the very beginning, but Diogo Jota equalised only a few minutes later,” Edo said. “It was City that were dominating the game, and Jesus scored before the half-time. It didn’t seem good for Liverpool.”
“Oh, I remember, Kevin de Bruyne was simply immense. He was carrying the whole team. He was just too strong for the rest of them. For the rest of the league. For the opponents. He was on a different level.”
“However, Liverpool showed how strong mentally they were and managed to get another equalizer by Mane just at the beginning of the second half. The match ended 2–2,” Edo said.
“Yeah, I remember, it was an amazing game with chances all over the pitch,” Aksel said. “It was incredible how high full-backs of both teams were standing on the pitch considering the killing instinct of the opponents’ wingers. Back in the day, full-backs didn’t use to go forward so much.”
“The game has changed so much!”
“Yeah, but anyways, full-backs or not, it was all pointless in the end because the game finished with a depressing draw. All that for nothing…”
“Pointless?” Edo was shocked. “Nothing is pointless! Actually, quite the opposite! The final whistle of the match displayed the full potential a draw can carry.”
“Pep Guardiola and Jürgen Klopp fused through a massive high five, hugged and showed all the potential of the peaceful outcome. The energy was simply bursting out of that high five,” Edo said. “The energy of balance!”
“It was impotent energy. It brought nothing to nobody.”
“It brought some incredible clarity and acceptance into Pep’s interview after the match — “Honestly, I want to win the league, but it doesn’t matter. We were so good. All our fans enjoyed and that is it,”“ Edo quoted Guardiola.
“So, he basically said that he didn’t care if he won the league or not as long as his team gave it all?”
“Pretty much! Pure winning mentality!”
“Plus if that really was Pep’s mindset, then he could have that mindset in the defeat and victory as well.”
“True, but I am not sure if victory or defeat would create such an environment for such words to be allowed. In the victory such words would not be necessary, in defeat such words would not be appropriate,” Edo said. “In a draw, in a peaceful outcome, different perspectives arise. The field of clarity arises.”
“Ok, ok, balance is good, yeah, I get that. The world would be a peaceful place if it was in balance. However, there is no improvement in balance, no progress. Progress requires euphoria and misery, winning and losing. There is no evolution in balance.”
“Yeah, about that. You need to be more specific. It might not be the evolution in the way modern society sees it, in the way modern mind understands evolution,” Edo said. “But with peace evolution would take another form. You can’t say you didn’t see the evolutionary potential in that high five — respect… love, gratitude…”
“There would certainly not be the evolution in the way society evolves, in the way football evolves,” Aksel said. “Take, for example, my bakery. If there was a balance out there, half of the customers would buy bread at my place, and the other half would buy bread at Arafat’s bakery. Would I be peaceful with that? Would Arafat be peaceful with that?”
Edo was waiting for the conclusion.
“Yes, probably there would be peace. But then there wouldn’t be progress.”
“Again, what progress, man?”
“Progress of my bakery to start with,” Aksel said. Let’s say, both Arafat and I produce sourdough bread which is made in the same type of oven. We even price the bread the same. Therefore, we share the customers because they don’t care which bakery they buy bread from. Yes, there would be peace in the street, but that’s all there would be.”
“Sounds good to me!”
“On the other hand, evolution and growth require me to rise the game and produce double the amount of Sourdough bread than Arafat does. Progress requires me to buy a new oven, the one that can produce Shepherd’s loaf instead of Sourdough bread. Progress requires me to open a new bakery and take all the customers. If I took the majority of all customers, there would be potential for the growth of my bakery. I could extend the bakery or even build a new one down the street,” Aksel said. “Obviously I would be happy, and Arafat would be sad.”
“The peace would be gone,” Edo said.
“Yeah… But… Let’s say, I have three new bakeries now, and I am producing Shepherd’s loaf in my new amazing electric dome ovens. Again, the peace in the street is gone at that point. But growth is inevitable.”
“But, do you need three…”
“And that’s what football is,” Aksel made a point. “You can’t keep improving with drawing matches. As you said, you need to beat your opponents and make them sad for you to be happy. Wining is happiness, losing is sadness.”
“Drawing is a balance. One point each,” Edo said. And you see — there would be a different kind of evolution there — the evolution of love, peace, stillness, inspiration. Just listen to the interview of Guardiola after that game. Never before so much admiration for another person had been seen in football — “I don’t know if Jürgen respects me, but he has to know that I respect him a lot. He has made me a better manager. His teams are always positive, and aggressive, they want to score goals, and they attack. And I try to imitate him in that sense,” Edo paraphrased Guardiola.
“I guess it is the truth we evolve through winning and losing, but that doesn’t mean we can’t see the potential in the balance and peaceful outcome as well,” Edo said.
“One point each!”
“Peace might be nice while it lasts, but no peace lasts forever.” Sooner or later we are exposed to the situations that require winning and losing, to the situations that make us grow,” Aksel said. “No peace can last forever.”
“Unless it comes from within!” Edo concluded.
This was the third chapter of my new book in making. The first two you can read here:
Cristiano Ronaldo — The Ego
“Football players and their egos! That’s a special type of relationship!” Aksel said.