I bet, from the title, you thought this was about football. It’s not. But because you thought it was, we’ll begin there.
Have you ever noticed how extremely well-paid professional football players, captains representing their respective teams, photographers, dignitaries, et al. all look skyward watching the spinning, flipping, designated coin about which the head referee has just explained to these otherwise pretty smart folks the difference between heads and tails and then some celebrity does the honors?
The look on their upturned faces is priceless. It’s almost as if they’re thinking ‘what if the coin doesn’t come down?’ Or, ‘what shall I choose, what shall I choose? Heads or tails – does anybody remember what we’re supposed to call?’
The decision that may well determine the team’s destiny actually has little to do with the two seconds that elapse completing the scene unfolding above them. The shiny shekel spinning slowly in the air, laser-beams from the sun (day game) or stadium mega-floods (night game) glinting off its lazily rotating surfaces as seen on slo-mo instant replay, is just all so much drama.
The decision has already long since been made.
Ditto the coin toss with regards relationships.
A June 20 article in “The Washington Post” by Gary W. Lewandowski Jr. was headlined “Thinking about breaking up with someone? Flip a coin.”
If, after reading that, your response is a slack-jawed, skyward-focused, eyes-rolled-back ‘whaaa?’ akin to the two-seconds of pre-kickoff drama featured in every football game ever played – you’re not alone.
Yep. A flip of the coin and it’s kickoff time. Depending upon the result you kick the other half out of the relationship or, conversely, you’re still in the game.
But, and maybe it’s just me, allowing a decision about our potential marital future – which certainly comes close in importance as to who gets the ball first in football and who controls what end of the field unless of course you are a rabid Seattle Seahawks fan in which case there is no future without soundly drubbing Denver (again) in a Super Bowl rematch and also taking down the archrival 49ers and heck, while we’re at it, soundly drubbing everybody en-route to a perfect season and 2nd Super Bowl victory in as many years – to rest upon the results of the flip of the coin as to whether you and your significant other will ever see each other in the future seems, well, rather flippant.
Now that I’ve mentioned football again though I think it would be fun if on national TV the head striped-shirt guy would take the initiative – I mean this really is pretty much his moment in the spotlight (night game) after all – and have Marshawn Lynch and some guy from the Broncos face one-another and say to Lynch ‘Heads you win (Seahawks)’ and, turning to the Bronco guy – probably a lineman – ‘tails you lose.’
Then he should quickly flip the coin into the air since the two seconds they’d have to think about what had just been said wouldn’t be enough time to even say ‘huh?’ let alone call time out.
But back to dating and coin-flipping since this is not about football.
Given Neil Sedaka’s “Breakin’ Up Is Hard to Do,” a coin flip does have much to commend it.
Flipping a coin has its advantages in determining whether there’s real romance or not; or a future together or not, just a fling or not, as it all can be determined, or not, by simply flinging a coin into the air.
Consider, for example, that the single flick of the thumb takes far less time than the old stand-by for making such decisions: plucking petals from a daisy – ‘she loves me, she loves me not.’ While destroying a perfectly good flower to discover whether your affection will bloom, or not, has certainly served well enough over the years we’re talkin’ ‘bout but two seconds to flip a coin.
Another suggested method, but again more time consuming, is demolishing a fortune cookie which has the obvious drawback of (a) being fortunate enough to find a Chinese restaurant; and (b) reading a fortune that has anything to do with the person sitting across from you at the candlelit dinner which, if indeed the dinner is candlelit and the little paper does pertain to that person and the message is not what you were hoping for, then just telling her anything might work since in the dim light she’s not going to find out anyway. Of course if the dinner is not candlelit and the little piece of paper is not complimentary and she does somehow pry from you the truth that suggests that she is in fact – at least according to the fortune – not THE ONE after all, well then that makes for a rather unfortunate ride home.
A coin toss removes all – or at least there’s a fifty percent chance – of the angst from a soured affair which the relationship must be or you wouldn’t be flipping the coin in the first place.
All of which discussion does, finally, bring me to why I wrote this in the first place: that recent decision you made, or maybe it was a non-decision in that someone else made it for you, or the decision you’re contemplating – it wasn’t, won’t be, based on the flip of a coin was/will it?
Because making life-changing, destiny-impacting, family-uprooting decisions based upon the flip of a coin is just so much drama.
On the flip side, calculated decisions vs. coin-flip decisions have everything to do with not only reaching the end zone but ensuring you will do whatever it takes to get where you want to be – and with whom.
“Knowing where you want to go and what your values are can be essential to getting there, to ensuring that all of your interests and concerns are factored into fast-moving decisions, and to avoiding later regrets about being less than clear-minded” (“The Leadership Moment,” by Michael Useem).