For a football fan, or a fan of competition in general, this past weekend was about as good as it gets. The divisional round of the NFL playoffs offered 4 games, all decided on their final play. As an entertainment product, it doesn't get much more exciting.
After a few days' reflection, I realized what was really on display this weekend: Perseverance. Each game was a perfect example of playing the 'long game'. The 49ers offense struggled the entire game, but they kept moving the ball and gaining field position, eventually blocking a punt which turned the tide over the Packers. Their offense didn't score a single point, yet they won the game.
The Buccaneers, although in a losing effort, came back from a 27-3 deficit to tie the game late in the 4th quarter. On the other side, the Rams saw their lead dissipate, but kept playing hard and eventually stopped the Bucs comeback on a great play of their own.
Not to be outdone, the Chiefs and Bills played a game for the ages. The Chiefs were down 3 with only 13 seconds left, seemingly no time at all. Two plays later they kicked a game-tying field goal and won in overtime.
Teams that were struggling early stuck to their game plan, and trusted that their continued efforts would be rewarded. This didn't necessarily mean they won (see the Buccaneers), but they were able to keep chipping away at a problem and put themselves in a position for a real chance at victory.
There is a parallel for investors in this weekend's display. We don't know when our big break is going to come, it may be early in the game (like the Rams jumping out quickly to a large lead), it may be late (like the 49ers blocking a punt in the 4th quarter). It may not be a big break at all, but rather the culmination of a lot of smart decisions over a long period of time. Regardless of how our personal financial 'game' is going today, it's important to remember that it's a long journey and that relentless effort towards a well thought out strategy often yields incredible results.
Perseverance pays off.