Monday, August 1

The Defeats

When I was young (not that I'm not young now, I'm referring to the days when I spent most of my time behind a school desk) I was not a big participator in organized sports. I have several theories as to why this was the case (when it's been a few years sometimes you tend to forget the details) and although I could post a lot about my theories they are the kinds of things best left in the therapists office or at the bar with my girlfriends.

Despite having a very limited exposure to organized sport like activities I did not miss out on numerous opportunities to not win ribbons/medals/trophies/certificates of achievement. Elementary school did a bang-up job teaching me to be a gracious loser when it came to track & field day, multiplication tables, rope climbing, badminton tournaments, and spelling bees. This is not to say I wasn't disappointed when I didn't win, I was (and often), but I learned that it sometimes doesn't matter how hard you try or how badly you want something - you might not get it.

I also learned that although you might have your best badminton game ever - someone else will have a better one and I will not get to take that recycled tennis trophy home even after I bragged to the whole neighborhood that it was mine. (gracious winning came later)

I spend a lot of time in youth sports these days and I'm saddened to find that many young athletes are missing out on the important lessons I learned in losing. Not everyone is a winner all of the time, not everyone is getting a ribbon, not everyone is walking away happy. I think we've lost something in those losing lessons... maybe most importantly how to recover when things don't go your way.

"You will face many defeats in your life, but never let yourself be defeated."
- Maya Angelou

1 comment:

Chris said...

Wise words indeed! I think we get stronger by having our share of losses, of not having winning be easy.