Thursday, June 24, 2010

Hollywood Endings and USA Soccer

After watching yesterday's World Cup game between the US and Algeria, one could not have written a more heart-stopping climactic ending. Rather than watching a soccer match, minute by minute I felt like I was watching a hollywood story unfold before my eyes.

Two free kicks in the last ten minutes of play, and both of them missed. We needed the goal to guarantee our spot moving on to play Ghana this Saturaday at 2:30PM EDT. If we could win the match, we could win our group and move forward as the top seed from our group, and win we did! With very little time on the clock, Landon Donovan picked up a rebound off a blocked shot, and helped the US to win it's group for the first time since it's first world cup in 1930.

Of course the video isn't of that shot. It's a recent ESPN commercial featuring Donovan getting penalized for his use of the copier. Pretty funny soccer humor, and I hope you enjoy it.

That's not why I'm writing this post though. I'm writing to celebrate USA Soccer and I'm writing to encourage you to enjoy the rest of the world cup action. And I'm writing to celebrate an incredible story.

There's something about a last minute shot to win, that makes the celebration all the sweeter. There's something in us that rejoices when we see a person or a team rise up and overcome overwhelming odds to achieve a goal. (In this case the goal was to achieve a goal!) Team USA was not a strongly favored team in the World Cup this year and so it makes it even more exciting. When someone is the best we don't rejoice as strongly with a victory. We expect victory, and anything less is disappointment.

But when we see someone overcome great odds to achieve, we go crazy--it just makes for a great story. Nobody wants to watch a movie or read a book about a person who just wins easily without any effort.

And maybe that's why our lives have challenges that arise each day. If life were easy, it wouldn't make much of a story. If we didn't have to deal with conflict, our lives would probably be a little bit boring. It's like it is hardwired into our DNA. But part of any great story isn't just conflict, it's what the character is undergoing conflict to achieve--what is the end result?

For instance, if I were working in this life to achieve the goal of driving a fancy car, or have a nice house, that's not a very compelling story or goal. We were made for so much more than this, and yet it is all that many are living for.

What if you lived your life as a story? What would be the hollywood ending that you would hope for? Is it a new car, or is it something more? Let the world know, and then go for it!

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