The soccer World Cup is an interesting tournament not lacking in drama, action, suspense, jubilation and tears. I took away several lessons one can draw from this tournament some of which are listed below.
- Do not bask in past glory, someone can always take your place. Spain came in as incumbent champions and cup holders and left during the first round of the tournament. It came as a shock both for Spain and many of their supporters as they would have expected them to go further in the tournament. Opponents are studying you and finding ways to displace you from that hard earned position, keep your game plan on point.
- Never underestimate the underdogs, they can surprise you. Not many people are living anything to chance in a competition. Yes they may be called underdogs, but all the more reason they have a point to prove and become champions. Do not sweep competition under the carpet, but deal with issues that can make you second best. Avoid complacency and continue to push even harder.
- You cannot always do it all alone. Soccer is not a one man show, pass the ball and sacrifice your own glory for team glory. When team effort is required, pass the ball and you will win. Some things are best done within a team setting and the sooner one realizes this and allows others to shine rather self, the better. It is not always about me.
- Respect authority and play fair. Referees are there to ensure fair play and lack of discipline leads to red cards and failure to play. If one is not disciplined in whatever they do, they can fail to accomplish their mission by losing resources, people or opportunities, if not even going behind bars. Discipline is key if one is to stay in any game. Try to remember and comply with the "no biting" rule.
- Always acknowledge your opponent and respect them for giving you a game, there is no game if the opponent does not show up. Before a soccer match, players exhibit sportsmanship by greeting each other, and after the match some players exchange jerseys. During the match, players help each other up when they fall, even though they are opponents. Being opponents does not mean you do not need each other.
- You have earned your current success, don't be apologetic. Play as if you deserve to be at the tournament, or you will be booted out. The fact that you are where you are, is due to hard work and effort. Someone said it is not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog that matters. There will always be a bigger dog in a fight and one may be afraid, but being in the fight means you have something to say and contribute so give it your best shot.
- Do not procrastinate. If you cannot score in the game as a team, you may lose in the penalties fragmented. The goalkeeper is alone without defense during penalties, but this is because the team did not score earlier. There is pressure that comes later when scoring chances are missed earlier as you now have no way out. Always capitalize on opportunities if you can and score to avoid sudden death.
- It is not over until the whistle goes so keep pushing until the game is over. A goal 2 seconds before the match ends is still a goal and can stop you from progressing to the next round or even deny you the trophy. As long as you are alive, your life can take a turn for good or bad. Continuously manage your efforts to ensure that your outcomes go the way you want them to or someone else will do that for you.
Well done to Germany for winning the World Cup 2014. Now over to you to play your life match.