It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over

images_11 It happens to all of us – in all forms of competition . Haven’t you noticed how damn hard it is to close the game when you are ahead – tennis, chess , golf – any competition for that matter ? We’ve seen improbable comebacks and tragic blowouts in both individual and team sport events – name the sport and it happened. The irony is, when there is a glorious comeback for the world to celebrate and cherish there is equally tragedy, the feeling of immense disappointment and frustration on the other side of the fence, to those who let the golden goose slip from their hands. The hardest part to accept is when you bust your ass to get ahead and all you need to do is coast to the finish line but instead you lose your composure, fumble and eventually botch your chance to win. Here’s what I mean when you bungle a winning game which for some could be a chance of a lifetime and may not happen again.

The bottom line is, winning is more mental than physical. A missed serve on a match point, a missed putt on clinching a tournament, a missed kick to win a football game – all of them had something to do with mental state of the person performing in a state of extreme pressure. It is no wonder that nowadays a new discipline has emerged in professionals sports – the sub-culture of sports psychology.  Atheletes today hire sports psychologists to condition their minds and nerves into playing the game at the highest level , impervious to the pressure, distraction and other elements that can affect their game. A tough mind is hard to beat. Until you get the handshake and raise the cup, the game continues. Yogi Berra  “eloquently” summed up the wisdom with a few words with his famous quote” it ain’t over till it’s over“. It does motivate to pursue the win for the one ahead in the game and gives much needed  hope to the one trying to catch up.

Yogi Berra’s proverbial quote also has its place in real life applications.  I remember many years ago, after having being intervewed a couple of times and given a tour of the facilities by the last interviewer, I was told I was hired. Human Resources was to contact me regarding the hiring procedure and all the required paperwork. HR did call me to inform that an offer letter is being prepared and will call me within one week to come and complete the hiring process. The call came but the news was gloomy. Reason – the company was acquired and merged with a competitor and all hiring was frozen. Yikes. That was a close call. I was glad I didn’t celebrate prematurely. More importantly, I was glad I wasn’t hired ! It ain’t over until its over – don’t get excited, keep it under your hat, hold your horses, don’t execute your plans until the golden goose is in your hand and I couldn’t agree more.

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