“Everything you have today, soon can be gone away….yesterday I had no sorrow but…here today, gone tomorrow,…here today and gone tomorrow,” (Brett Dennen). We all get so caught up in the overblown importance of sports and our quest to be the best that we oftentimes forget that it’s all just a game.
We organize our daily practice routine so that we get the very most out of this season. We set athletic goals for ourselves and the team, and then get down to the business of investing tremendous time and energy into trying to reach these goals. Losses along the way bring us down and, depending upon how big the game was, can be huge emotional blows leaving us depressed and de-motivated. Similarly, big wins can fill us up with excitement and joy, enervating us to push even harder. Through it all we become so invested in the quest that it’s easy to lose sight of what’s really important.
Despite the approach taken by some parents, athletes and coaches, winning and losing is not a life and death struggle. Winning is not the MOST IMPORTANT thing! It is instead, nothing more than an outcome of an athletic contest, a game! What is most important is keeping the important things in perspective. These are the life that you lead, the relationships that you make along the way and those people in your life who you are close to.
In our sports crazed society, it’s easy for competitive sports to take on a pseudo-important quality. This is why some coaches go nuts when their athletes make mistakes or perform badly. This is what motivates some athletes to cheat and cut corners. This is what drives parents to be crazy on the sidelines or mercilessly and sometimes cruelly push their kids to “be the best.” You’re sadly misguided if you think that these kinds of behaviors are acceptable if they lead to winning.
However, when all is said and done, when the bats, balls, racquets and other sports paraphenalia have been put away, when you’ve grown up and gotten on with your life, the only really important thing is those in your life who you are close to, those in your life who you love and who love you. Your close relationships are what are really important because when your life’s “playing time” has almost expired, that’s all that you’ll have around you. You won’t be thinking about your won or loss record, the championships you won or all those times that you choked.
Being in the real game is about having people around you who you love and care about. It’s about letting these people know how you feel about them, every day, whenever you can. Why? Because you never know when it will all go away and, sometimes in the blink of an eye, it can.
So try to appreciate what you have every day. Hug your kids. Tell the people you love how you feel about them. Understand that competitive sports is just a game and not what’s really important in the long run.