The Golden Touch

This past weekend may go down as one of the most exciting weekends for USA sports in some time…at least for 2011….at least for a guy that grew up in NJ….and I must say, I walked away in awe!

Saturday was it’s usual day…wake up…put the finishing touches on the work week that I decided not to cram into Friday (is it me or do you all feel your inner-child coming out on Friday’s and struggle to do anything but want to “play”?)….then determine when I’d “squeeze” in a couple runs over the weekend including a 13 miler sandwiched around a few business related meetings.  Yes, I said meetings….I know it may sound crazy to most to have business related meetings on Friday nights, Saturdays and Sundays….but in the world of a small business looking to grow in a poor economy…I’m fortunate that my partners and I are in agreement that these are the types of sacrifices necessary to get important things done.  And I couldn’t help laugh a bit to myself (and out loud) as I looked at my wife and said…”Don’t blame me….everyone warned you…and you still said Yes”!

But in the midst of hammering out action items and takeaways from the previous night…I nearly missed the first of this weekend’s golden moments happening about 65 miles to my east in the heart of the Bronx!  Now, I know there are some serious haters out there…and hey, I guess I can’t blame them….I mean if I had to watch an opposing team dominate sports over the years with 27 World Championships and 40 American League pennants…I might feel a bit…well….let’s all be honest…..JEALOUS….too!  And yeah…we’ve all heard the “they spend big bucks and buy top talent”…and to that I suggest haters look into the phrase “best practice”…..keep in mind that Major League Baseball is a profession for it’s players….the entire organization is a business….and like most businesses…those willing to make calculated big investments usually get big rewards….it’s best practice in this game…and hey, it’s catching on…ask the Philadelphia Phillies!  But Yankee hating aside…..this weekend, the Yankees “Golden Boy” Derek Jeter did it again.  This guy has built a career on coming up HUGE in the big moment….and becoming only the 28th player in history to eclipse 3,000 hits in a career….for a brief moment…he smiled, hugged friends and waived to family…acted human….and then got back to business with 3 more hits including the game-winner and went 5-5 on the day.  So it got me wondering….how do some people, like Jeter, always seem to deliver in the most pressure-filled moments?

And then there was the US Women’s Soccer Team.  Now, my soccer experience consists of 2 years in community athletics at the age of 6 & 7….and although I’ve got quite the little “dynamo” in a niece…I’m not a huge soccer guy.  But, this World Cup thing is captivating….and thankfully Amy and I made it home from church in time to catch the final moments of the US team’s most recent victory.  My words surely won’t do it justice, but here’s the gist…….

The US team seemed to have been getting a little short-changed throughout the game by the ref….regulation ended in a tie and the teams were given a full 30 minutes of extended time (I’m still trying to figure this out but I think it’s partly the ref’s discretion).  Right away the Brazil team scores on a questionable goal.  The US battles and battles but can’t find the net for the next 30 minutes……Brazil pulls some shenanigans with players faking injuries to eat away precious time…and the ref’s extend time even farther to account for Brazil’s ploy to eat up the clock…..what’s most exciting is that the audience and players (presumably) have no idea when the official end of the game will be as the clock continues to tick……and with one final push….the US team drives up field….and Megan Rapinoe crosses the ball (probably about 30-40 yards), perfectly leading her teammate, and team captain (a girl who has struggled to score through the tournament)….and as Abby Wambach heads the ball into the net…the stadium (in Germany) ERUPTS!  USA USA USA!

Amy and I literally jump off our couch for joy…..and I find myself getting chocked up as I watch these women…representing our country…living the “never say die” mentality….and with their backs against the wall of elimination….they tie the game up, delivering in the most very critical moment!

The US team, like Jeter, went on to finish their day with an amazing victory…defeating Brazil in penalty shots….but how…why…..where do some people “get it”…..that Golden Touch?  Next on the reading (or listening as I tend to do) list…..”Talent is Overrated”…google it for yourself.  Check out the US team highlights below…well worth it!

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