Refereeing a soccer game last night, I heard the goalie say something interesting to one of her teammates. “Next time, I’m coming out of goal.” This statement came after a couple of corner kicks by their opponent had been turned away by the defense. Her words came out of frustration as she felt she had not been as actively involved as she wanted to be during the previous kicks. When the next corner kick was taken, I watched her charge off her goal line and try to get a hand on the ball that was lofted in front of the goal. Unfortunately, she missed and the ball was kicked into the goal. Her coach yelled from the sideline, “Why did you leave your line?” I was thinking the same thing, because a goalie has one job: keep the ball out of the goal.
She had determined the action she was going to take before ever seeing what the play was going to be. I told this story to my son, who was a goalie in college and his response: “That’s a terrible strategy for a goalkeepers. Goalies need to be ready to respond to the action, not choose your response ahead of time.”
When I think of action without thought, my mind runs to King Saul. Saul was a man of action. He was a leader who stepped in and stepped up many times during his kingship. His trouble came because he often acted impulsively, not thinking through the consequences of his action. He did whatever he felt was right at the time and then had to face the trouble his impulses created.
Action is usually positive, however, action with no thought, often leads to undesired results and regrets. If the goalie from yesterday had a chance to replay that situation, she would have done it completely different. Her actions led to a result that she didn’t like.
I’m all for action. However, action needs to be combined with recognition and thought. I don’t want to make up my mind too early when facing important decisions and direction. I know that I need to properly process the situations in front of me before taking action. I realize that sometimes, the answer will be to wait and see what the best path is before taking action. Something that’s on my mind for today.