Perspective and How to deal with the agony of defeat

Here are two pieces I found to be helpfully related. Sometimes having a different perspective on things can change your life.

By Randy Traeger


So you have a bad practice and you walk away thinking that your team is not prepared, you could lose on friday night,and you have failed as a coach. That's the devil whispering in your ear! Instead of looking at the "temporal",look at the "eternal". Remember, we get what we need, not what we want. Maybe that bad practice was supposed to teach our guys about laziness, being prepared, and perseverence in adversity. These lessons are more important than the game. How can I, as coach and mentor of men, justify spending time worrying about our preparedness for a game when I should be ministering to young men who:

1. Physically assaulted a family member and face prosecution and or a life on the street.
2. Didnt show up to practice because they were up all night listening to their divorced father fighting with his girlfriend, both under the heavy influence of alcohol.
3. Are emotional distraught because their mother and father are tearing their family apart with constant arguments and fights over money. 
4. Miss practice because they had no transporation to town having spent the night with a grandparent because his parents just got a restraining order against each other.

These are real situations that we have dealt with in the last couple days.....and I am concerned about winning a football game on friday night? 

We should be more worried about easing the pain in these kids souls....dont you think?


By Steve Rushin of Sports Illustrated
In the agony of defeat, perspective -- and advice of a 5-year-old -- helps

Have you ever been able to appreciate -- or even to celebrate -- the team that just beat yours? Last June, when Ghana's Asamoah Gyan scored in extra time to eliminate the U.S. from the World Cup, my 5-year-old turned to me and said: "At least the people in Ghana are happy."

"The People in Ghana Are Happy" has since become a household catchphrase, a reminder, when one of our teams loses, that somebody else is celebrating. 

Compassion and empathy are anathema to sports. 

Having said that, there are four possible emotions after witnessing your team play:
1. Happiness that your team won.
2. Anger (or sadness) that your team lost.
3. Happiness that the other team lost.
The fourth permutation almost never arises, but it does exist, at least in our house, and it is by far the hardest one to master:
4. Happiness that the other team won.
Number four, in other words, means this: The People in Ghana Are Happy. It's a healthy attitude, when taken in small doses. Surely a nation of 23 million people, for whom soccer is the most popular sport by far, has a greater stake in the U.S.-Ghana match than America does. (Or so my daughter and I persuaded ourselves as the whistle blew on extra time.)

Oscar Wilde once said: "Anybody can sympathize with the sufferings of a friend, but it requires a very fine nature to sympathize with a friend's success."

And when it comes to the success of an enemy, an archrival -- the other team -- it will take a finer nature still.