Two months ago our men’s hockey team played a home game against Oswego, then the number one team in the country. Fredonia, of course, was the underdog, but after the first period we were up 2-0.
I leaned over to another coach watching the game, exclaiming surprise at our good fortune. His response was equally surprising:
“It’s just Oswego.”
To him, this wasn’t Oswego, the best Division III hockey team in the country. This was Oswego, the same team Fredonia has been playing for over fifty years. The second Oswego is beatable. The first is intimidating.
The story you tell about your opponent matters. In fact, it might be better not to tell any story at all.
(We lost the game 4-2, but the lesson stuck.)