Our high school football team lost on Friday night. I knew that because of what I didn’t hear from the football field, which is two blocks from my house. The sound from the fans was noticeably different from what I heard the previous week. However, the 32-0 loss was confirmed Saturday morning by someone in town who shared several reasons for the loss.
This person explained that the opposing team came from a larger school with more boys from whom to select team members. Therefore, according to my friend, their squad was made up of bigger and tougher players than ours. Furthermore, I was told, our team had incurred some injuries prior to this game.
Now whether or not these reasons for the game loss are true, I could not say. I wasn’t at the game. So I don't even know how well each of the players actually performed. What I do know, however, is that dwelling on excuses won’t change this week’s score nor improve the score in next week's game.
Sometimes we win. Sometimes we lose. The important thing, in either case, is to learn from our mistakes and focus on improving our skills while still enjoying the game itself. When we focus on the joy of playing the game and improving our skills, winning generally takes care of itself.
There hasn't been any team whose winning efforts weren't broken at some point. Losing is just as much a part of the game as winning. It is not an indicator of a team's worth as long as the team gave its best effort and, afterwards, evaluated if/where improvement could be achieved.
Every season will include facing teams that are superior or inferior to our own. This is true both on and off the field, and in every aspect of our lives. Blaming others, making excuses, whining about our victimhood or the unfairness of life, and shaming ourselves or others may make us feel better temporarily. In the long run, though, these tactics only bring us down.
Congratulations, boys, you've been given the opportunity to grow; and knowing your coach, I'm sure you will.
What team do you belong to in the game of life?
Are you learning from both your wins and your losses?
Do you make excuses rather than focusing on enjoyment and skill building?
Who can help you evaluate your latest game and give you some coaching?