In a world that idolizes victors, emulates champions, and glorifies the elite; perfection, championship and victory reign as the ultimate goal to be achieved. We strive to be the victor leaving our blood, sweat, and tears on the practice field and share our hopes and dreams with the teammates who shoulder that same desire. Championship, indeed, tastes sweet.
So the goal is set. The practices are planned. And the hard work that the team has undergone is visibly obvious when they achieve success during competition. Those victories are celebrated; chanted about by elated fans, and accolades are granted by local media. Confidence abounds...both inside the ranks of the team and throughout the supporting fans as the prospect of championship grows more desirable...and attainable.
But what becomes of a team-of those young athletes- when circumstances, performances and luck doesn't go their way? What is the answer when victory- championship dreams- are shattered with a game gone wrong? Disappointment, frustration, tears, heartbreak all overtake the once hopeful and determined team. After all, no stories are told and retold of the team that didn't win; no victory chant for the team that didn't capture the championship.
In those moments, heart and character of the athlete are revealed. To be a champion one must not only know how to win...they must also know how to lose...how to humbly congratulate the victor and come back tomorrow determined to do their best, give their all, and play with heart. I witnessed this display of a champion this weekend as our beloved volleyball team suffered great loss, painful defeat, and then redeeming victory. We placed 7th in a championship tournament we all believed we would conquer as victors. Heart breaking to say the least- my 4 sons were devastated when daddy's team lost; believing with all their hearts that daddy and daddy's girls deserved to win.
Lessons in winning and losing are tough. We all love to win...and hate to lose. But in the sting of defeat, I saw champions rise up holding their heads high, joining together even tighter as teammates and supporting the opposing teams as they powered on to the desired victories. My boys learned more in that loss than we would have in the victory. Our girls maintained to be positive, upbeat young ladies with humble spirits and hopeful hearts. And I dare to say.......that they indeed emerged as champions.