In amateur and professional sports, the year is typically structured into a series of games known as a regular season. Not to be confused with a season in nature, a sports season can last the majority of the year. For example, in the NBA, each team plays 82 games from October to April in a regular season.
During the regular season, professional sports teams play with different agendas.
Some deliberately ease up, with the goal of scoring a better draft pick.
Some work hard to make it to the playoffs, to win a shot at earning a championship. If a team wants to win a championship, they need to participate in an extension of the regular season, known as the playoffs. Teams are paired up into different matches and play to eliminate each other, until one is finally crowned the winner.
If a team puts all its eggs in the basket, at the right time, it just come from nowhere to win the championship. For example, when Kawhi Leonard joined the Toronto Raptors, he put them in a position to win their first, very improbable, NBA championship in 2019.
The teams that make it to the playoffs play differently during the playoffs; they’re on another level. If they played with such intensity the whole regular season, they’d be exhausted and spent.
It’s a challenge; if you were on a team playing to win, you need to play to win the championship, and you need to play to win each game.
If you look too far ahead, the other team could win.
If you risk it all, your team’s key players could get injured. If you spend all your energy and morale, you won’t have enough left in reserve for when it really matters.
It’s the same in the realms of professional work, creative work, and personal life, except the line between regular season and playoffs aren’t always so regular and obvious. There’s a lot of ambiguity. Discernment is crucial. Don’t play a regular season like it’s the playoffs, and don’t play the playoffs like it’s a regular season.
P.S., I don’t watch a lot of sports so I didn’t want to assume you did… I’ve been following the NBA finals this year and really enjoying it though. See It Is What It Is, steps to success (I loved this!), and my friend Faiz’s blog.