It never happens until it does. There is a saying, life is about beating the odds, but what are the odds? Why is it that some people make it and others don’t? Why is it called luck if we are preparing for what we know is going to eventually happen? Why is it that we look at data and think it can’t happen? Did the NCAA set up Virginia to lose to UMBC? And why isn’t Malcom Butler being called the Martha Stewart of the NFL? Some say it's all about data or is it?
The problem is we all are rhythm-based beings and we are geared to notice what is consistent. Rhythm is calculated consistency and life doesn’t have a predictable rhythm. One reason for this is because we are all learning and there is no precise time when “we get it”. Some of us get it the first or second time, others may take 20 times to get and yet, others may need 100 tries. Data is interesting because it takes averages and tries to find rhythms and predict in an unpredictable world.
MIRACLES HAPPEN WHEN YOU BELIEVE
Two years ago, the University of Virginia was the first one seed to lose to a 16 seed. Before the loss no number one seed had lost to a 16 seed. We all knew it could and would happen, but we couldn’t predict when. When UMBC pulled off the upset over Virginia it was against the top number one seed. This meant that it was almost statistically impossible for Virginia to lose. They were the best team in college basketball going into the tournament and a 63 seeded team beat them by twenty. Xavier (lowest ranked one seed) statistically should have lost before Virginia but Xavier, Villanova, and Kansas played teams that were seeded 64, 65, and 68. Yes, Virginia had the “hardest” game out of all of them. So, it would be fair to say that any number one team that night would have lost, Virginia just happened to be the team they played, but should they have been scheduled to play them? Ironically, last year Duke played the 67th seed which was the lowest seed. Duke was the top number one seed and Virginia who was seeded as the second overall number one seed played the 63 seeded team Gardner-Webb. Interesting...
The University of Virginia would go on to win their first national championship a year after losing to UMBC.
MIRACLES HAPPEN WHEN YOU STUDY
Four years ago, in the Super Bowl, Malcom Butler made a call look stupid because the numbers said touchdown but failure caused success. The Seahawks ran that very same play 66 times the entire season without an interception. Data said an interception wasn’t going to occur, but our logic said it was smarter to give Lynch the ball. NFL data said the run was statistically 8 percent better in that situation. The data for the Seahawks suggested that it was 2 percent better to pass it than run it. The nation went with Lynch, Carroll went with pass. We know the rest.
Whether you felt the call was stupid or not, it wasn’t the play that ended the game in the Patriots favor, it was preparation. A turnover can occur on any play, but what normally happens when defenders know the play? Malcom was the Martha Stewart of the NFL. Malcom knew the play, so the outcome was manipulated in his favor. The first question that needed to be answered is would Malcom be in the game when Carroll called the play? Check. The second question would be what would Malcom do in the game if the play is called? Will he deflect the ball down, intercept the ball or hesitate and allow the catch to be made? He got the best possible outcome and intercepted the ball which defied the odds that was set against him and his team.
In Game Speed
Preparation is everything. Studying is everything. Most importantly what action you take after you study and prepare will determine how successful you will be. Without opportunity progress can’t occur but you have to be ready for your moment when the time comes. Malcom and the University of Maryland Baltimore College prepared and studied but it was their action that will be forever remembered. Data can’t predict the heart of an individual or team when they capitalize on their opportunity. Never forget that you don’t have to be the “best” you just have to be the best in that moment. Whatever the outcome is, it will be worth it because you know you did your best.
Congratulations UMBC, Virginia, and Malcom Butler for seizing your opportunity you all will never be forgotten.
North Carolina congrats to you as well, you almost pulled off the unthinkable against Clemson. Preparation combined with belief will lead you down a path you could only dream about.
The data may say one thing but never forget, data can't calculate a winners heart.