In most forms of competition offensive feats seem to be the most sold part. The home run swing, the slam dunk, the knockout punch, or the big time combo followed by a super tend to get more attention than a strikeout against the against a contact hitter, a hand in the face of a three point shooter, a lean that made a match one round longer, or a well-timed throw escape to keep that leads to a championship. This gets me wondering despite how well offense sells, how important defense truly is?
I’m not trying to say that offense is overrated. After all, if you never attack, you never win. But if you never defend and attempt to attack somebody who knows how to both defend and attack well, you will most likely lose. Of course offense is ridiculously easy when one rival does not defend well or does not defend well. Many all-star games for most pro sports crank up the offense, while the solid defense from regular season is left at home. During the games that count, however, you will often see some great defensive plays.
In the highly praised book Art of War. Sun-Tzu speaks highly of defense. He says that the best military strategists made their forces undefeatable with defense and wait of the enemy to open up to defeat by engaging into an attack. When I think of it, it does make sense. Many forms of fighting uses counter attacks to take advantage of an opponent’s aggressiveness. Many of basketball’s easiest baskets come from a quick steal or two. When it comes to fighting game tournaments, there is a common strategy used by pros called “turtling” where the player only perform the safest attacks and catch the opponent’s whenever that opponent does an unsafe attack. There is a saying that the best defense is a good offense. From how I see it the best defense sets up a good defense.
One great example of how going on the defensive can work in your favor. In the Ms. Pac-Man championship on ABC’s That’s Incredible, most of the competitors pushed extra hard to eat all four ghosts while energized, sometimes losing a life. Tim Collum was the opposite, when a blue ghost is too far he would not pursue it. The other players were scoring faster than Tim, naturally but they made costly mistakes ending their game early. However, any life Tim used up lasted longer than his opponents’ lives did. Tim’s more defensive strategy earned him the score he needed for the championship…and he was on his second to last life.
So when somebody says that defense doesn’t win championships, nod your head and say, “Yeah it does.”