flickr photo shared by nickyveitch under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC ) license
Inspired by Jon Andrews’ recent post, here is a short story of my own. A meandering on data, leadership and growth.
It was the big day, but something wasn’t right. As Alen came into the huddle at half time, the tone worried him. Even though the team was up by three goals, it was not a fair indication of where the game was at. A couple of quick goals in time on masked what had been a tight match so far. In a low scoring affair, it felt huge – for some. There were players whispering victory. The problem though was that the statistics were against them.
Although they had had more possessions, they were not using it well. Whereas the opposition were more effective. Not only having more tackles, but also being more efficient on the turn around. They had the statistics that counted. This was not the fault of the players, they were just following orders.
What worried Alen the most was that the game had been played on their terms. This involved closing the play down. Stopping the run. Not because that was how they played best, but more because that is not how the opposition liked to play. Known for their high scoring and slick ball use, there was only one game where they had failed to score over 100 points. A wet day when the temperature did not get above 10 degrees. This being said, they had still won by 50 points. History was against them.
Coach was excited. Preaching to the masses, Alen was unsure whether he was aware of the statistics that were stacked against them. Coach was from a different time when expectations got the job done. The problem though is that 15 out of 21 games the opposition had doubled their score in the third quarter. While in half of their games they had reduced the opposition to less than six goals in the second half. They could not be held forever, it just was not feasible to sustain such negative intensity for the whole game. Surely coach was aware, how could he not?
As the sermon wound up, Alen was waiting for the ace that coach was going to pull. Maybe he had done his research? Maybe he had something in his bag?
As the players split off into their groups, he assumed that maybe the message would be given there, by the assistant coaches. However, as he stood listening all he heard was refinement. Nothing new, just a tightening of the screws. Do this. Stay on him. Stick to the plan. Let’s keep it on our terms.
As the players split from the huddle and jogged back to their positions, Alen questioned whether his thoughts were detrimental to the side. It wasn’t that he was trying to subconsciously undermine the team. He had always been a loyal servant who did what was asked of him, but maybe that was why he wasn’t a part of the leadership team? The problem was that there was a seed of doubt. He wanted to trust coach, but the seemingly naive perspective that he perpetuated left him more questions than answers. Maybe he was wrong. Maybe it was him.
As the opposition player got into position he prepped himself once more.
The whistle blew, the game continued, it was time to play.
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