I was watching the baseball playoffs and football games this weekend and I was reminded of a simple, basic rule of sports and life.

Sometimes, the perfect plan still doesn’t work out.

I watched managers this weekend deploy the same pitchers into the same situations they were used in during the regular season with enough success to get them into the post-season in the first place only to have them fail, in some cases spectacularly.

I watched football coaches make decisions that made a lot of sense given the time, score and circumstances. The go-for-it or not decision, the decision to run on third down and four when your team has gained seven yards per running play all season—they all made sense.

But what happens if, in a critical moment in a game, the decision the on-field decision maker makes doesn’t work out? What happens when your best bunter doesn’t move the runner over? What happens when your untouchable relief pitcher gets brought in to get the last out of the eighth inning and gives up a home run?

It happens.

Because of the white-hot spotlight shining on playoff baseball and football, the angst that is the outflow product of those moments when things go sour are understandably magnified.

And with the rabid dogs of social media waiting to pounce, the torches and pitchforks are lit and ready for marchers to snatch them up.

But the reality here is that these games are being played by human beings, in real time, and the best game plan can be derailed and it’s no one’s fault.

The fact that there is no address in which to march on in unison to hammer the blame into offends our sensibilities in 2021. Someone has to blame. Someone has to pay.

Sports don’t work like that.

I cover Warsaw football for a living. No one goes for it on fourth down more than Bart Curtis does. If the Tigers cross the 50 yard line, you can assume it’s four-down territory.

Coach Curtis doesn’t go by the book. When he’s the coach of your team, conventional wisdom is not the prevailing guideline.

Part of it is based on confidence level in his guys to make it, part of it’s based on the fact that he (politely) doesn’t really care what any of the rest of us think. He’s in the Hall of Fame…he’s earned the right to think that way.

So if Warsaw goes for it on fourth-and-one at their own 29 up 3 points in the fourth quarter and they don’t make it, no one says too much about it.

If Brian Kelly did it at Notre Dame, it would be described this way: “Brian Kelly can’t pull a stunt like that in that situation.”

See the difference?

Truth is, life isn’t like that either.

We can do the right thing for the right reason and have it totally backfire on us.

Guys, ever buy your wife flowers only to have her say “Why did you do that? Why did you waste money on those?”

Ladies, ever do laundry and wash a shirt of your husband’s thinking you were being a hero, only to find out that that shirt was clean? He’d put it out so he didn’t have to hunt for it later. Now it’s wet and he can’t wear it.

Ever make a certain dish (which is your go-to dish) for new friends who are coming over for dinner, only to find out that the children are lactose intolerant and can’t eat it?

Here’s the one I get caught in a lot: Ever send a message of encouragement to a friend who has been going through a rough time, only to find out they were doing better…until they got your “note of encouragement”, which made them cry again?

At the radio station, we have a phrase for it: “No good deed goes unpunished.”

Coaches push the logically-correct button to push during the course of a game, and the only difference between it being an idiot move and a genius move is whether it worked or not.

And that’s what keeps coaches up at night.