One of the more interesting books I’ve read was Scorecasting: The Hidden Influences Behind How Sports Are Played and Games Are Won. In it, the authors looked at data to address a number of entrenched ideas within sports. There were a lot of great stories in sharing the data that goes against a sport’s “common sense”. One in particular dealt with a football coach that always goes for it on fourth down.

This past week, Grantland ran a piece about this coach, Kevin Kelley, with the below video.

  • “It’s a philosophy and a strategy.”
  • “The intent was not, ‘Let’s go out and do something different.'”
  • “There are those kinds of people that want to be different because they just want to be different. And then there are those kinds of people that want to be different because they’re looking for something to help them be more successful.”

I love this. It’s not a gimmick. It’s about winning. Statistics prove there is an advantage to going for it on fourth down and doing onside kicks, and only one coach is doing it. At the high school level. How many of us stick with a status quo method because it won’t open us up to criticism? And yet, by sticking with the method everyone else does we may also never find success.

Part of me identifies with Kevin Kelley’s words with my own work. When I started the Online Campus I heard from a few people it was a gimmick. It was launched and established with a core audience. I also heard ministry may not take place with it. Well, this year alone the Online Campus Team has responded to over 600 prayer requests. Then I hear from critics that an Online Campus attendees experience is less real than someone who attends in person. Whatever.

There will always be critics, and some critics will do so simply to mask the fact their methods have been exposed. I want to be successful. I don’t want to be mediocre just to appease someone else who is mediocre. I want to be the best I can be with my work. Not just for my sake, but also for the sake of others.

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