The Worth of a Play

As I’ve been watching basketball this March and observed more than a few missed dunks and layups, it’s come to mind that all plays have a value even when the scoreboard doesn’t change. That missed dunk or layup is reflected in the total the same as every other missed opportunity to score or to prevent a score. The first play has the same potential maximum value as the last and every play in between.

In games contested on a scoreboard, the worth of these scores is often easy to see, but sometimes it isn’t. For example, in football, sometimes a turnover leads directly to the other team scoring, such as when a pick-six (interception returned for a touchdown) occurs.

My college football coach, Pete Schmidt, used to have some type of scoring system for all big plays like that. He definitely believed some plays had different values than just the points they tallied on the scoreboard.

In life, the values of plays are tallied in minds and hearts rather than scoreboards. If I hold a door for someone, it might have a very low value, or it might have a very high value. It also may have different values for me and for the person walking through the door I’m holding open. The more people involved in a play, the more potential values.

If you want to make plays, it probably helps to do away with the terms big plays and little plays to the best of your ability. Those terms just limit the possibilities in our hearts and minds.

There are just plays. They are available every second of every day, in games and life. They all have value. Make them. When you miss one, look for the next.



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