Before you get all excited, I’m not labeling anyone a “Loser”. I’m referring to the sports world, specifically the world of high school sports. I’ve had a front row seat to several seasons of winning, losing, and the heartbreak that often lives in between.
It’s so easy to win. I skated through an undefeated football season, watching my boys at their best, not to mention the luck that was always on our side. We were invincible. Games were like parties, and we all loved each other. Coaches made the right calls, boys made all the plays, and we were a big happy family. It was so easy to be gracious.
This past season was not quite so ideal. The same boys seemed jinxed. We were constantly getting hurt, and losing. We suffered heartache, as this time luck was not with us. We won some, and lost some, and lost by a gnat’s nose twice in heartbreaking fashion. There was talk in the stands of poor coaching. There was talk of player favoritism. It seemed that our kids entire futures hung in the balance. Where had our grace gone?
And this is where the lesson comes. These athletes knew how to win and lose, but the parents did not. We all know or hear of teams that go for seasons or years without winning. Yet they still field a team. They still work through two-a-days in the heat of August. They still dream of playing well, of competing. They show up for each game with courage, often knowing that they are over matched. They play with dignity, and they lose the same way. This is the essence of character.
Next time you are tempted to laugh at a team that is O for 11, think of the work these kids put in. Think of the heart that it takes to not quit. Life’s heroes win by having the courage to lose.