We’re right in carnival season in many parts of the world, therefore allow me to come up with a rather funny story this time. It is all about one of the most bizarre soccer matches of all time. Sit back, relax and let me invite you to let your minds flow to the Caribbean, to Trinidad and Tobago, to be exact.
It was there where the Caribbean Cup, the Championship of the Caribbean, was played in 1994. Back then, the international soccer body FIFA was experimenting with a sudden death overtime rule, they called it “Golden Goal”. The organizers of the Caribbean Cup obviously were not exactly sure how to deal with it in detail, so they came up with the following ideas: 1.: Any draw would go into extra time. 2.: Even in the group stage, the Golden Goal rule was in place. 3.: Any Golden Goal scored counted double in goal difference, as it ended the extra time suddenly and therefore did not give any team the opportunity to score more than once in extra time. Especially the third idea was about to create quite a mess in the following game.
The final match in group 1 of the preliminary phase saw Barbados take on Grenada. Only the first place ensured a spot in the next round, and Barbados needed to win by a two goal margin to advance while a loss with one goal or any better result would send Grenada to the next round.
It all looked fine for Barbados until the 83rd minute. They were up 2-0 when Grenada scored, narrowing the margin down to one goal, which would have been enough for them. During the last few minutes of the match, Grenada played with a massive defense to avoid the 3-1. Five minutes from time, two Barbados players (Sealy and Stoute) realized that it would be tough to score in the remaining time and had an idea. They took the ball, turned and ran towards their own goal. After exchanging some passes, they scored an own goal on purpose. That made it 2-2 – a result that would send the match to extra time, in which one more goal would be enough to secure the two goal margin (see idea/rule 3. above).
Shortly after, Grenada realized what was going on and tried to score an own goal on their own to secure the one goal loss again. Somehow Barbados managed to protect the opponents’ goal (!). The match really went into overtime, in which Barbados scored the Golden Goal and thus won 4-2, bringing them to the next round (where they then dropped out of the tournament).
If you ever look for an example why too much regulation and too many rules and laws can be counterproductive – remember that match.
The striking thing about the whole story however is the creative solution found by the Barbados players. It shows that if you really want to come up with a highly creative idea, challenge things that you believe can not be challenged. Creativity researchers believe in this: Edward DeBono for example calls it “Provocation”, while others refer to the “Path of Biggest Resistance”.
Barbados challenged that own goals are bad and scored one on purpose. What sounds completely dumb resulted in a victory they would not have reached otherwise.
If you don’t find a way, stop improving the details. Challenge what you believe in and maybe it can lead to a creative solution you would have never thought was possible.