Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Win or Lose: It's Always a Life Lesson

This time last year I shared an essay I wrote about the abrupt end to my son's high school soccer season. Going into the playoff game, his team was in second place in their Division, but then they lost to the last place team. This knocked them out of the competition, and suddenly all of our plans to watch them try to win the State Championship evaporated. Hotel reservations had to be cancelled, and players, coaches, parents and fans all felt quite bereft.

This year, the Montana State High School Association changed the rules. The top two teams from the season get an automatic berth at the Montana State Championship meet - so we were able to avoid the trauma of a play-off game.


Soccer balloons at a game

Everyone is excited, and despite a few injuries, our entire Varsity squad is hoping to be in good enough shape to play. My own son (a senior this year) broke a bone in his hand during practice last week. He has to
wait for the swelling to go down, but it will be casted just hours before they board the bus that will take them to Billings where the tournament will be played, later this week. Once bubble-wrap is applied over the cast, (to protect the other players)  my son, like all his teammates, will be ready to play.

Both the boys and girls Varsity soccer teams of my son's high school have done very well this year, and everyone's level of excitment is running high.  Of course we are all hoping they will bring home both of the State Championship first-place trophies this year.  Re-reading my post from last year, "It's Just a Game, Right?" was good for me today, though. (If you are a parent of a competitive athlete, you might find it interesting, as well.) My own article reminded me of the healthy perspective I gained from the disappointment we suffered last year. 

Soccer is "the beautiful game" - but like all sports, it is just a game. There is always a winner and a loser, but every player and every team is more than the sum of those results. A big win is something an athlete often holds close to the heart for the rest of his/her life; a loss can be a character-building life lesson he/she will never forget. However, while winning seems important, to consider it everything is really missing the point.


A soccer ball high in the air

The sportsmanship of our boys last year, even in the event of an unexpected loss, was praiseworthy. I have no doubt that this year our high school male and female soccer players will continue to act with the same grace and good character as they always have, no matter who holds the trophies at the end of the season. 


Soccer is a team sport

I am proud of them all. Determination, effort, and teamwork is always admirable. They've worked hard to get better, and have had fun together. 

Isn't that, really, what playing sports is all about?

Can you think of a time when you learned as much from a loss than you would have from a win?

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12 comments :

  1. I OFTEN learn more from losses and disappointments than from triumphs. Which is probably just as well. One of those things is more common in my life...

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    1. It is clear to me from all that you have written, just how strong you are E.C. I am sorry that disappointments may have contributed to that - but you seem to have taken lemons and made lemonade!

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  2. I've not won much so I've learned a lot! :)

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  3. Oh how exciting! I will have my fingers crossed! I remember that post. Have a great time I know it will be bitter sweet!

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    1. It was bitter-sweet Rena - and I am struggling to come to terms with the thought that after the "end of season" banquet, I will no longer be a soccer mom!

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  4. it's wonderful that they're getting another chance - and also that it's soccer so a hand injury doesn't preclude him from the game (love the bubble wrap qualifier!) Hope they bring home the trophy and have fun in the process :)

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    1. Thanks Leanne - they did bring home a trophy, although one place down from what they wanted. It was a fun three days though, and we are really proud of all the athletes!

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  5. This is a great piece Susan! As you know, my son has had his share of athletic disappointments, and they're never easy. Good luck to your son and his team - how exciting!

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    1. I guess it goes back to the old saying Lana, "You win some, you lose some ... !"

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  6. Thank you! You are so right as we get up this morning to head to Billings. It reminds me of where we were last year for that game. Levi was in surgery and when he woke up and was coming out of the "surgery haze" the first thing he asked about was his brothers, his teammates. We had to tell him that the season that ended for him a week earlier with his broken bones was now over for them as well. He would not be on the bench with the at state. We are so proud of them again this year. What an incredible group of men we have. That we get to call our sons.

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    1. I am just seeing this comment now Corey ... uploading photos to Flickr has interfered with internet access to blog! It definitely was a better end to the season for Levi this year than last! And yes - what an incredible group, and how lucky we are to be their parents.

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