When there is less than ten seconds on the clock and your opponent has the ball and you’re twenty points behind, what do you do? Two words: you lose.
This past Saturday, I attended a college baseball game, three high school basketball state tournament games and two college basketball games. Yes, all in the same great day!
In all six of those games, “my” team lost. Now, I didn’t consider jumping off the batman building here in Nashville, or jumping into the Cumberland River. But I did have more than a passing interest, especially in the last college basketball game. I am friends with the coaches and familiar with the players. It was the last home game for the seniors and they lost.
Late, very late, that night as I was driving home, I began thinking about the matter of “losing,” and for me, there was still a bit of a sting. Now I don’t advocate losing for the sake of losing so one can say, “Well, now I’m a better person,” but I do think there is something to be learned when one comes out on the short end of the score.
Losing is something I think we all need to learn, as well as how and what to do with it when it happens. A writer once wrote about a famous basketball player, “His father had taught him everything but how to lose.” And consequently, when losing did come to him, there were problems for that young man. Sooner or later, losing appears to everyone in various forms. Losing is disappointing. And in life, there are a lot of disappointments. She/he broke up with you, the breakup hurt, you didn’t get that job, words like cancer, divorce and death. Losing comes in a lot of forms other than numbers on a score board.
One of my favorite books and writers is Pat Conroy. In his book, “My Losing Season,” he writes, “Winning makes you think you’ll always get the girl, land the job, deposit the million dollar check, win the promotion, and you grow accustomed to a life of answered prayers. My acquaintance with loss has sustained me during the stormy passages of my life when the pink slips came to the door, when the checks bounced and when despair caught up with me.”
By the way, if you are a fan and your team loses, don’t be like so many people I have seen over the years, “When your team is winning you are the first to drive the bus, but when they are losing, you forget where the bus was parked.” The bus runs both ways- to the game and back home.
What do you do when you lose? Here is my suggestion: “Shake hands, get off the floor, go to the locker room, take a shower, learn from the game and show up Monday for practice.”
Oh, also, one thing I always found that helped after a loss, try to find your girlfriend.
March 5, 2010