Friday, January 19, 2007

What If [Exclusive]

It seems people are always asking “What if?” to relive some regrettable incident or unfortunate outcome. Once the question is asked it becomes easy to draw the conclusion you originally desired whether or not it is probable or even possible. What if elephants had wings? Then we might assume elephants could fly and our desire to ride a flying elephant might be a conclusion until we remember ostriches have wings too.

This week many of my friends here in Ohio are asking that infamous question. What if Ted Ginn had not injured his leg? Would history be different? It might be a desirable outcome, but I am not sure if it were truly probable. What if Ohio had not underestimated the capability of Florida and spent some of those 51 days actually preparing for this game? Again the folks up here would have a desirable outcome, but based on my observations this alternate route was not possible. The cement had already hardened on the idea that these boys were unstoppable.

Do you really want to know what happened? From what I am seeing here in Ohio these folks made two seriously incorrect assumptions. First they assumed football was exclusive to Ohio. Deny it if you wish, but I was here for the thunder. According to my comrades the SEC did not have the power or skills to face the Big 10, an obvious miscalculation. Second they took their eye off the gator. Now anybody from the South who has encountered one of those fine creatures will tell you taking the eye off the gator means you get bitten. And so it happened. The boys up here got bitten. Now they come home licking their wounds but with more wisdom for their future encounters.

Life is full of second guesses. Some people say hind sight is 20/20. I must disagree. For you are never really sure what might have happened if you had taken the path not chosen. Many professionals ask, “What if I had taken that other offer?” It is possible the pasture might be greener and the salary higher, but what would be the true outcome? I recently observed a young man leave a major Fortune 100 corporation for a smaller competitor. The week after he left, the competitor announced they were closing the office to which the young man had begun new employment.

There exists one instance where the question holds validity. It is wise to study history and use any analysis to help guide future decisions. But in this case it is not regret or a desired change in the previous outcome, but rather a lesson learned for improving future decisions when facing forks in the road. Maybe, after a few weeks of tending their injured pride, my friends here in Ohio will see the valiant use of the question. My observations say that result is not probable. At least it is possible, and as such, hope remains with humanity.

My allusion to humanity does not come haphazardly. For the analysis of a single sports game can be applied to many aspects of life. I think it is more probable that my friends in Ohio can ascertain the valiant use of the question before the politicians in Washington. The Washington folks find it far easier to ask the question about the actions of others without the intent of learning, but rather the intent of discrediting. What if our politicians learned the correct use of “What if?”