I have been involved in athletics at several levels including as an athlete, coach, parent, & broadcaster. I have never known the outcome of any game, win or lose, to be determined by one person or one play. Regardless of the outcome, win or lose, there are ALWAYS several people who made contributions, including athletes, coaches, officials & parents, to name a few.
If there is one thing I could change in this world of athletics (& life), it’s the mindset that failure means you suck, and success means you’re infallible. WRONG!
Failure is one of the best ways to learn the lessons we need to learn.
Everyone knows this quote (unless you’ve lived under a rock your entire life!)
“I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan
Not convinced yet? What about the great Babe Ruth? You probably know the “Great Gambino”, The Sultan of Swat”, “The King of Crash”, “The Colosus of Clout”, “The Babe”, because of his home run record (714 during his career). Did you know that along with all those home runs came a pretty hefty amount of strikeouts as well (1,330 in all)? In fact, for decades he held the record for strikeouts. When asked about this he simply said, “Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.”
This list of failed athletes who went on to super success goes on and on. It’s not only athletes that endure adversity before success either. For a list of many more inspiring stories, you can search: “Successful people who failed”.
Where failure does hurt, is in the athletes who internalize it and take it so personally that they can’t get beyond it. That voice continues to creep into their brain telling them they suck, they’ll never make it, they’re not good enough. All of that is CRAP! And sadly, that negativity is often precipitated by a coach, teammate, the media, or a parent who kicks them while they’re already down.
Trust me, unless they’re not human or have no soul, the athlete feels worse than everyone else about the “failure”. That missed shot, dropped pass, bad foul, turnover, etc. are already haunting the athlete. What they DON’T need is to be berated as if someone’s life depended on it. I don’t care how much money someone might make, or what is at stake to gain from a win or lose from a loss. It’s NOT life or death!
Yes, losing stinks! I still hate the feeling to this day. When my kids lose a game, I hurt almost as much as them. The coach in me would love to point out all the things they can improve on (which I’ve learned to do if/when they ask me… & it’s so hard to wait!), but what they really need is a hug! They need to know that someone is in their corner, ready to pick them up, dust them off, say “I believe in you”, and encourage them to learn the lessons and move forward!
I’ve shared this verse before, and it’s worth repeating:
“Speak without thinking, and your words can cut like a knife. Be wise, and your words can heal.” Proverbs 12:18
Or this one:
“When you talk, don’t say anything bad. But say the good things that people need—whatever will help them grow stronger. Then what you say will be a blessing to those who hear you.” Ephesians 4:29
Want more? Google “what does the bible say about the power of words.”
My hope for sharing this is that we all, regardless of our role, remember that we can accomplish much more in this life when we support and lift each other up. Encourage the people in your life to have fun, take risks, make mistakes, FAIL & learn the lessons, then step right back up to the plate. They’re much, much closer to their next home run!