Know Your Court… And Your Stuff

I wrote this article when my kids were toddlers. That was about eight years ago. So much has changed since then. But the fundamentals remain the same — timeless and timely. It is about the home court advantage. There is a reason most sporting teams win their home games. Home games are games played in the home base/stadium of the team. For example, I was in Boston 2010 when Celtics and Lakers played the NBA finals. Whenever the game was played in Boston, it seems the whole city was adorned in the green and white colours of the home team (Celtics). It was intimidating to be the opposition. That next weekend, the New England Patriots (Boston’s American football team) had a game. Once more the city was adorned in the blue, red and white colours of the team. It seems everyone had the jerseys. As a neutral, it is nice to watch but the opposition will tell you a different story.

Allianz Arena — Home Stadium of Bayern Munich

Home grounds offers the home team numerous advantages. First and foremost, almost all the fans (more than 80%) of the stadium will be rooting for the home team. Next is that, it is their pitch and they understand the ins-and-outs of the stadium. The contours and slope of the pitch. All in all, the home team is playing in familiar territory. Think of Jose Mourinho’s record when he turned Stamford Bridge into a fortress.

Back to my kids….

Watching my two sons play is cacophony in reality. My first son’s idea of play is to arrange things (either in a straight line or in circles or in rectangles; generally, there must be a sense to it, a pattern or predictability). Let’s call him “Mr Organised”.

The second son’s idea of play is to make things move; somehow, anyhow — just keep moving. His idea of play is to scatter things; a whole lot of things. Let’s call him “Mr Colourful”.

Definitely, when they get together to play, it is just chaos. Entropy insidiously creeps in. But there is organisation in the disorganization. It’s not fun for Mr Organised. He loves predictable order. But Mr Colourful comes alive in those moments. Colourful does not understand why Organised is making a fuss about the whole thing. However, the show must go on.

In order to cut a deal, Organised decided to engage Colourful in this play called “Car Racing”. In car racing, you go on all fours and push your toy car as fast as you can to the finish line. It is a simple play with just that rule. The play works because both parties seem to be getting along — for Organised, there’s a pattern and for Colourful, there’s movement. Great!

But there’s only one problem. The game always throws up one unexpected winner — Colourful. Though Organised doesn’t say anything but the frustration on his face indicates the baffling thought that goes through his mind — how does this guy with limited mobility and smaller frame always win?

You see Colourful is a fast crawler and scooter. As long as the game is played on all fours for now, the guy who has mastered the ground will always win. This is why snakes bring their prey to the ground and crocodiles drag their preys into the water body. They are playing to their strength.

This analogy illustrates why Christians will always triumph in the affairs of life if they play it on the platform that they ought to master — The Word of God. If the children of God leave that platform to another, they will lose no matter what they think of their physical, financial and emotional prowess. Even if they win, it is momentary.

God has given us His word for guidance, protection, encouragement and comfort. This is our only deal. The earlier we become malleable to those living words, the better for us and the quicker our salvation will come on whatsoever matter of life that confronts us.

Our prayers always should be that the eyes of our understanding should be enlightened so that we can embrace this word that is able to build us up and give us an inheritance amongst the saints.

In your business, what is your strength? What is your core competence? If you stray away from the area of your strength to compete in exciting markets just to get a slice of the game, you will likely lose.

In life, Goliaths win daily but when David wins, it is big news. Why? Because it is unexpected. But David always takes a route less followed. He charts a new path and lures Goliath there. Goliath always thinks he can win no matter the circumstances. But it is not so. Malcolm Gladwell wrote a whole book with the title “David and Goliath — Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants” to elucidate on this point.

His point is simple “David has a ton of advantages in that battle, they’re just not obvious….David had nimbleness. He changed the rules. He brought in the superior of technology….It is because of, and not despite, David’s size and unorthodox choice of weapon that he is able to slay the lumbering giant”.

The easiest way to win in life is always to win your home games. Folks with great family life most times are fortified to face the adversities of life. Maximising your home games gives you a big advantage in life, faith, business and other areas of life. If the home-court advantage is not maximised, you are bound to be average.



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