Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Sometimes you have to roll the dice

So for those who have been following me for a while, you know that I am also a huge cycling fan. For those who have been unlucky enough to sit through one of my presentations on teamwork I go into great details about cycling, how they work together, and how they need each other to win.

Another refereeing lesson was reenforced for me the other day from the cycling world when I was watching stage 7 of the Amgen Tour of California. It was about taking risks.

You can see a profile of the stage here ... it is basically straight up.

Now, Chris Horner (of my favorite team - Radio Shack Nissan Trek) is last years winner, and was expected by many to repeat again this year. Only problem was that he was down 2:30ish in the General Classification (GC) before stage 7, meaning basically he had very little chance, short of a catastrophe for many other rides, to win the GC.

Knowing this was the case, at the beginning of the stage, he collected several members of his team, and "Swung for the GC Fence."

He knew it was a long shot, and basically did not care what everyone else thought ... he went for it, and very nearly won it all with such an epic risk.

Refereeing can be like that sometimes. You have to take that risk. It might be in the form of playing an advantage, maybe it is NOT cautioning a player that did not "feel" right to do. Maybe it is sending off a player straight away to keep the match from going into disrepute.

In all matches there are elements of risk involved. After all, you don't know what is going to happen when you choose A over B. Sometimes picking one path has more risk than another. There are times that we do this knowingly as a referee to move to a particular desired outcome, ultimately to manage a match. There are times however, we make a decision not being fully aware what the outcome may be.

In all cases however, when we learn about the risks, we have to be ready to take them. There are times taking these risks (with the best of intentions) will yield disaster. There are also times when they will yield a beautiful match.

Taking no risks however may yield the same results, but you will get there in a far more unpredictable fashion than if you were to take the risk. After all, this is the magic of refereeing soccer where the referee is allowed such wide discretion to manage the match how they see fit, and take those chances to allow the magic to happen.

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