As a sports fan I spent much of the weekend watching games on the TV, and given that one of my major passions is rugby it was a great weekend as England were playing New Zealand rugby league team in the Semi Final of the Rugby League World Cup, and Ireland were playing the New Zealand All Black rugby union team in their final game of the year.
In both games as they arrived in the last minute of the game, the New Zealand teams were both trailing and looked like they were going to be beaten.
In the rugby league semi final, New Zealand were the reigning World Champions, but they had been outplayed for much of the game and with 17 seconds to go they trailed 18-14.
In those last 17 seconds they somehow managed to raise their game and score a try which put them level with England, and then with the conversion which was the final kick of the game they put themselves 20-18 in front, and into the Final of the World Cup.
It was a devastating defeat for England who had been the much better team throughout the game, but it was New Zealand who managed to find a way to win, and score try in the last minute to steal victory.
In the rugby union game, The New Zealand All Blacks were looking to become the first team to finish their season undefeated, with a 100% record. But Ireland hadn’t read the script and were in no mood to make it easy for the All Black to achieve their goal. In fact in the opening 20 minutes Ireland played break taking rugby and scored 3 unanswered tries to lead 19 points to nil after just 19 minutes.
This was an outstanding performance from Ireland, who had never ever beaten New Zealand, and all they had to do was to continue to play this way for another 60 minutes and they would crush the All Blacks dream and achieve their own, and score their first victory over the All Blacks.
However, like their rugby league counterparts, the All Blacks do not understand the meaning of the word defeat, and they started to claw their way back into the game, and with the match clock already showing that time had run out, they trailed by 22-18, and as soon as the ball went dead the game would be over.
The All Blacks were playing to keep their 100% record and they managed to keep the ball alive and marched 85 meters down the field and score a try which put them level at 22-22, and then with the game deep into injury time, and with the last kick of the game they scored the conversion to win 22-24.
In the space of a 2 days we had seen two outstanding New Zealand teams come back from the dead and score the game wining points with the very last kick of the game.
Both teams have that Winning Culture, that belief that they will find a way to win no matter how bad the game may be going. They have the mental toughness to keep going for 80 minutes, fully confident in their abilities and that if they apply themselves then the opportunities will come to win.
This is why it’s important to create a Winning Culture in our teams, so that we too do not know when we are beaten and that we should give up, but yet we continue to keep going confident that one way or another we will be successful.
As sad as I was for the two home teams, both of whom had out played their New Zealand opponents yet lost, you had to respect the resilience of the New Zealanders, and to be honest you could see the sense of belief they had in themselves, and that the games were not yet over.
It was a great lesson in Winning Culture! Well done New Zealand!