The Shots You Don’t Take

Wayne Gretzky said, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.”

I’m not saying he’s some kind of brilliant statistician or anything, but the guy knows what he’s talking about. He took a lot of shots in his career, and I’m sure he missed one or two along the way. That’s comforting to me.

Missing a well-aimed shot can feel tragic. I imagine the Itatlian-league soccer player who’s been running for an hour, wet with sweat, driving the ball just wide of the goal. Arms up overhead, he looks to the sky, and over the “Ohhh!” of the crowd, you can almost hear him scream in frustration.

Or the concession speech of a political figure who’s invested years and millions into a path that turned into a dead end. “I so wish—I so wish that I had been able to fulfill your hopes to lead the country in a different direction,” Romney recently said. “But the nation chose another leader.”

This week, I’ve been in Boston, Massachusetts taking a shot.  Trying my best. Throwing my resources and my energy into one major push to try and do something I’ve never done before. I haven’t told many people about it, because unlike that soccer player or that Presidential candidate, I have the distinct ability to do much of my work outside of the public eye.

But it doesn’t make that moment any less scary.  That moment where the ball is mid air, the breath of the crowd is held, and the announcers pause in anticipation of glory.  That moment where the ballots are in, the numbers are changing, and your future rests in the balance.  That moment where you’ve written your heart out and are waiting for a reply.

But if I miss, I miss. If I lose, I lose. And I’ll keep running. Because that’s just playing the game. It’s how you live.