It’s a common theme in American sports- “Offense Wins Games, Defense Wins Championships”.
But is that really true? The 2000 St. Louis Ram (the Greatest Show On Turf). The 1990 UNLV Runnin’ Rebels. And even the 1992 “Dream Team”. I tend to agree more with Bobby Knight when he told Dan Quayle “There is nothing that a good defense cannot beat a better offense”. Sure, defense is great.. until you meet a better offense.
Now that you are thinking “offensively”… you are now in the mind-set that I am in after visiting with so many fantastic European groundsmen. There is such a confidence, assurance, and matter of fact approach to management. There is no fear. Or if there is, they certainly do not show it! To strip off a field and re-seed instead of sod seems like insanity to us; its common place for them. Here playing tennis on grass seems impossible; They do it all the time. Here roofs on grass stadiums are few and far between; There every stadium there has a roof. Here extra events on a field causes stress; they welcome it as an opportunity to try something new. They seem to always be on the offensive, working towards the next goal. Never slowing down. Never complaining. Never doubting.
Before my trip, I felt my management philosophy for turfgrass was agressive and simple: The grass has 2 choices- 1) Grow 2) Die. After visiting Europe and getting an outside perspective , I realize its is not as simple as I thought. Many decisions are from a “defensive” or conservative stand point. These decisions are still GOOD decisions. But they are made from a “what if” perspective with anxiety, uneasiness, hesitation, and even lack of confidence play into the decision-making process. The process is complex. It’s “Defensive”.
So thinking with confidence, defined by Merriam-Webster as: belief in oneself and one’s powers or abilities; self-confidence; self-reliance; assurance: and in a positive frame of mind.. “Offensively”.. decision-making becomes less complex. These GOOD decisions then become GREAT decisions! GOOD fields become GREAT fields. Mother Nature provides challenge, but the strong turf can overcome. We sleep better at night with less stress!
A shining example of great decisions, Steve Jobs, described it perfectly: “That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”
I don’t know about you, but an offense to move the mountains of challenge sounds fantastic to me!