Play ‘Till the Whistle is Blown

Sean - Butte, Montana
Entered on March 26, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I believe in playing until the whistle is blown. This saying comes from when I played soccer for a man named Leng. I remember a particular game in which my team played that we were playing far less than our ability. During the halftime break Leng was irate with our performance, and he communicated that to us as best he could. But he found trouble expressing his true feelings until the words came to him, and he said “Don’t ever give up on the play. Just because you’re beat doesn’t mean that you have the right to give up. Play until the whistle blows, damn it!”

Since that spring Saturday 4 years ago I have made it my goal to never quit ‘till the whistle is blown. But just as important as playing ‘till the whistle blows is knowing when it is blown. Recently I was going out with a girl that had been a good friend of mine, and for a few months it seemed like a match made in heaven. But then an unseen rift began to form between us; small enough that it remained unnoticed, but still large enough that it caused issues. She saw it before I did and wanted to end things on good terms. But for some reason I hadn’t heard the whistle blow, when she knew that it had. My unwillingness to give up widened the gap between us and caused us to fight every time we talked for the next several weeks. When I eventually gave in and let it end, the tension lessened and eventually smoothed out again. But I know in my heart that if I had only heard the whistle blow things would have been better between us during those awkward first few weeks.

Regardless of how terrible it can be to not cut your losses, I believe it is far worse to fold when the chips are down. I had a friend some years back that carried a similar philosophy. I was still very young at the time, but I still remember how I felt when I heard that Danielle had cancer. Her first bout with it was over quickly and everyone was relieved, but it came back within a year. The second time it spread to her lymph nodes; which in untreatable even with chemotherapy. My entire family, which was very close to hers, was disheartened by the news. Everyone was, that is, except Danielle. When everyone around her was in the shadows of sadness, she seemed to shine with an otherworldly light. She knew that giving up wouldn’t change anything, so she chose to live her last months with as much joy as she could. She died about 11 years ago, but her story is still an inspiration for me to never quit. She played till she heard the whistle.

When things go wrong, and when things go right I’ll play till the whistle blows. When the odds are stacked against me, or are stacked in my favor I’ll play till the whistle blows. When the workload seems never-ending, or my task is easy I’ll play till the whistle blows. And when that whistle blows I’ll put whatever the project is to bed. But whatever the case this I believe: Play Until the Whistle is Blown!