THE AGONY OF DEFEAT

THE AGONY OF DEFEAT

No question about it! LOSING SUCKS! It's discouraging, disappointing and demoralizing...and, it's an integral part of playing competitive sports. Even when you give it your all, play your best and do everything possible, you can still come up short. That's just sports and life! There are never any guarantees that you'll walk away with the winner's trophy. Look at the hapless Chicago Cubbies. 100 years and counting! Winners of their division and keepers of the desparate hopes and dreams of long suffering Chicago fans. Yet the Cubs got swept by the Los Angeles Dodgers and now have to handle their fans' anger, disappointment and outrage. Losing hurts!

Similarly, the Red Sox shouldn't have really come out on top of the LA Angels. The Angels won 100 regular season games and weren't anywhere near as banged up as the Sox. Yet LA lost the first two home games and then were eliminated last night in the bottom of the ninth in Boston. More crushing disappointment and an awful lot of time to think about it! That's what losing usally does for us. It gives us ample enough time to beat ourselves up, feel like crap and entertain the "what if's" and "if only's."

While sometimes losing may certainly feel like it's the end of the world, it's not! While it's often agonizingly painful, it's important for us to not lose sight of the fact that we are only talking about sports and a game. Sports may be a metaphor for life, but our games are NOT life itself. We need to try to keep our failures in perspective. As sports fans we need to do an even better job of keeping "our team's" failures in perspective. Our heroes don't choose to disappoint us. They don't consciously decide to let themselves and us down. They don't plot out how they can best fall apart under pressure. Sometimes they're on and at other times they're way off. How the timing of this works out is anyone's guess. The bottom line is, that like us, they are only human. However, to vilify them for failing or choking is to not really understand sports. Simply put, sometimes you win some and sometimes you lose. 

You don't have to like losing. Most athletes, coaches and fans don't. You don't even have to accept  losing as the status quo. What you do have to do is understand that failing is alway a reality and a way for us to grow as athletes and individuals. Remember that old saying: ANYTHING THAT DOESN'T KILL YOU MAKES YOU STRONGER. This is the nature of losing and failing. It is an opportunity to learn, grow and get stronger.