Learning from defeat

For those who are not Facebook friends you may  have missed that the Lady Scotties basketball team that I have coached for a number of years lost in our attempt to win the state championship for a third year in a row.  A very painful experience for these extremely dedicated young women, yet there is much to learn from an occasional loss.

2011-2012 Lady Scotties

I have a few very close friends who make their living in the performing arts. Most have been doing so for a number of years. Like athletics, staying “at the top of your game” for a prolonged period of time is incredibly difficult.  The well worn line goes something like, “Getting there is very hard – staying there is almost impossible.”

The consistent message from my seasoned friends is “make no assumptions.” Or as more than one has clearly suggested, “I know that every time I step out on stage I have to prove myself once again.” This is consistent with what one of my favorite coaches would often say, “The moment we start believing we are unbeatable is when we will start losing.”  Similarly, leadership expert and author John Maxwell suggests the moment we begin to “wing it,” rather than to do the hard work of being prepared, is the moment we begin to fail.

All interesting perspectives. All also consistent with my own belief that God has given each and every one of us gifts which we are called to be good stewards of by passionately using those gifts.

Three years ago we lost the state championship in a very hard fought game. The Lady Scotties deepened their commitment, worked extremely hard, became very disciplined  and went on to win 42 straight games including back to back championships. I am convinced that they will likewise learn from this loss and be even stronger…not only on the court but in their lives with the gifts that God has given them.

And as a post script…after having the incredible fortune of  winning not one but two championships – and all that the elation, accalades and celebration that comes with it – there is an ironic good feeling in seeing a group of kids who had never been there before win the gold ball. I wish every young person could have that experience.

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