I was listening to a little sports talk radio last week, as I am wont to do, and something struck me. One of the things the fellas — three of them — were talking about was the imperative for a …
This item is available in full to subscribers.
If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.
Click here to see your options for becoming a subscriber.
If you made a voluntary contribution of $25 or more in Nov. 2018-2019, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one at no additional charge. VIP Digital Access Includes access to all websites
I was listening to a little sports talk radio last week, as I am wont to do, and something struck me. One of the things the fellas — three of them — were talking about was the imperative for a football team to create chaos in their opponents. Unless you’re the Broncos of the late 90’s, who could line up, tell the other team “here’s what’s coming,” and then beat them anyway, you have to do something to cause your opponent confusion. Then operate in the spaces left by the confusion. That’s how winning football is played.
Obviously, not something the Broncos have mastered yet.
It’s something we used to try to coach into our baseball teams, too. You put a runner in motion, you lay down a bunt at a weird time, you do a delayed steal … sometimes you can force the other team into a mistake. Of course, these days, nobody does any of that — they’re all just swinging as hard as they can trying to hit out of the ballpark. But, once upon a time, the game was played with that sort of strategy in mind.
Of course, this is nothing new. Like much of sports strategy, all this is simply borrowed from the military. Clausewitz preached overwhelming force — that’s what the Broncos of the late 90’s had going for them. But, not too many teams bring General Patton’s Army to the field on a weekly basis, so they have to depend on speed and guile.
Unless you’re Jacksonville in the second half on Sunday. Then you can just push your opponents around the field however you want to.
But most teams have to put the pieces in place, do something, and, before the opponent has the opportunity to figure out what you’ve done, do your next thing. Your opponents will always be caught on their heels, reacting to what you’re doing and chasing you. It’s known as mastering the OODA Loop. It’s how U.S. Special Forces accomplish unbelievable objectives around the world in teams of 5, 10 or 20 men and women, and it’s a beautiful thing to behold when it’s executed according to the design.
Chaos is a troubling condition for most people — most people like to have things happen on something resembling a schedule, with fairly predictable ranges of outcomes that they can manipulate through talent or industry. It’s a rare person who thrives in unstable conditions. For instance, did you know that, adjusted for inflation and on a per-capita basis, more millionaires were created during the Great Depression than at any other time period in American history? The people who recognized the collapse of certain structures as an opportunity thrived; the rest, not so much.
And it’s even playing out that way in politics. I have a difficult time believing our President is truly the undisciplined, angry 12-year old he so often comes across as. His entire life, he has embraced a certain element of chaos, and thrived within it. That’s why the multiple bankruptcies, the multiple marriages, the subsequent multiple grand achievements … It’s almost as if he manipulates his world to fall into a state of chaos, because he seems to thrive in that environment.
Whether or not that’s any good for the country as a whole remains to be seen. I am… skeptical.
And, perhaps, he’s met his match: these latest revelations, and the strategy his opponents are deploying to weaponize them, are striking in a very “mastery-of-the-OODA Loop” sort of way.
And let’s not discount the possibility that he — and the rest of us along with him — are dupes in a classic Russian counter-intelligence operation. Play both sides (WikiLeaks and Trump), make both sides mistrust the other (election tampering), and sit back and laugh as your enemy tears itself apart trying to neutralize “the other side.”
Now, the important question: how can we get Vladimir Putin to start calling plays for the Broncos?
Michael Alcorn is a teacher and writer who lives in Arvada with his wife and three children. His new novel, “Charon’s Blade,” is available at Amazon.com, on Kindle, or through MichaelJAlcorn.com.” His opinions are not necessarily those of Colorado Community Media.
Other items that may interest you
We have noticed you are using an ad blocking plugin in your browser.
The revenue we receive from our advertisers helps make this site possible. We request you whitelist our site.