A coaching axiom in sports is to always play through the whistle. You see this all the time in football: a running back is thwarted at the line of scrimmage, yet keep his legs churning as the linemen gain traction and forward motion plunges him into the end zone. Meanwhile, frustrated defenders plead with the officials…having ‘Why didn’t you blow the play dead?’ looks on their faces.
The last many months have drained your emotional (and perhaps financial) resources. Your team is dragging, having picked up the workload of departed peers. The grind and frustrations of ‘Just when will this recession end and things pick up?’ are probably starting to wear on everyone.
Winston Churchill said it best some 68 years ago this month as England struggled to survive: “Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never – in nothing, great or small, large of petty – never give in…” Your role as leader is to keep everyone believing that tomorrow will be better. Perhaps it’s time for a pep talk?
If you need a story to share, consider the Minnesota Twins.
In September, they trailed the Tigers by seven games. A week ago, they were three back with four to play. Yet by winning 16 of their last 20, these never-say-never believers forced a one-game showdown for the division title. Yesterday, down three runs early, by two in the middle and a run late, they – fittingly – took the game to extra innings. They tied it for the third time after the Tigers scored a run in the top of the 10th, before finally winning on a base hit in the bottom of the 12th.
Whether the Twins have enough comebacks left to beat the New York Yankees in the first round of the postseason playoffs is to be determined; however, it’s clear Ron Gardenhire’s squad lives and breathes Churchill’s mantra. Your team would benefit by doing the same.