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In The Action Even When You’re Not

I heard a great story the other day which emphasizes how important our actions are…even when we think we’re not actually doing anything important. It involves the infamous Ice Bowl football game between the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers for the 1967 NFL Championship.

This game isn’t called “the Ice Bowl” for nothing. It was played at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin in December. The game time temperature was -13F degrees (-25C) with a windchill driving the temperature down to -48F degrees (-44C) making it the coldest NFL game on record. It was so cold that referees couldn’t use their whistles because they froze to their lips. To this day, some players still say they suffer from the effects of frostbite. It wasn’t just cold, it was bone-numbingly frigid. So, you can forgive some players for doing all they could to try and stay warm.

One key to the game came from the actions of a Dallas player, Bob Hayes, who was a wide receiver and considered one of the fastest men alive. Turns out his hands were cold (remember this is before players started wearing gloves) so when a run play was called, he shoved his hands in his pockets before the snap. When he did this, he communicated that he wasn’t going out for a pass and unwittingly tipped the Green Bay defense to play the run. In the end, the Packers won in dramatic fashion as Bart Starr scored the winning touchdown with 16 seconds left.

What’s interesting about this story is that it offers an example of how we influence the action around us, even when we’re not actually a part of the action itself. Everything is connected and we’re never truly out of the play…no matter if we think we don’t have a role in the action.

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