I hate losing. It drives me nuts. I hate it when I am competing. I hate it when watching my favorite team compete. I hate it when I am playing 2048 on my phone. I hate losing.
But it happens. In fact it happens a lot.
For instance, I have been a Pirates fan since I was five years old. I follow it religiously. Over the course of those years the team has played approximately 6500 games. In that span the team endured a record twenty straight losing seasons. But even in the winning seasons they lost. A lot.
And this is true even of the best teams.
So what does one do with this? I suppose there are a couple answers possibly. One I have thought about a lot is to just drop it. Especially the fandom. It would certainly save me and likely you a ton of stress.
But if I did that, what would I have missed? If I stopped following UK football for instance, I would have missed last year’s ten win season or even in the tough years the joy of watching Jared Lorenzen or Derek Abney or Mo Williams. I may have had to endure the LSU Hail Mary to beat the Cats, but I also got to live the touchdown Stevie Johnson grabbed to beat UofL.
As a Pirate fan I may have escaped a litany of miserable moments, but would have missed the brilliance of Jason Bay or Freddy Sanchez or the epic Brian Giles Grand Slam to finish off a two out 9th inning rally down six to the Astros at PNC Park. Or maybe all of the Buctober moments 2013-2015. Or my favorite of all, the combined no-hitter with the Mark Smith walk off for the Freak Show Pirates of 1997.
Which is the interesting part about competition. Obviously we all want to win and winning is important. As Nuke LaLoosh once said, it is so much better than losing. But even amidst so much frustration small glimmers of excellence still allow us to enjoy the moment if we can just wrap our minds around it.
On a more personal note, I had some really good teams in my twenty years of coaching. But I had some not so great ones too. My 2nd Gallatin County team went 6-18 on the season but on Senior Night we overcame a late five point deficit as senior Whitney LeGrand banked in a long three to win it at the buzzer. I’ll never forget it.
My first year at Meade County was similarly littered with losses, but Shajuana Ditto was a senior. Getting to watch her play every night was worth everything for me. She was not any kind of star, but she played so hard and so selflessly. It was what every coach dreams of.
At Metcalfe County I was gifted a star and despite our 6-21 record in year one, Mackenzie Coleman started to become Mackenzie Coleman. It was awesome. Her first regular season game for us resulted in 39 point and 20 rebounds in a 68-62 win over Warren East.
And I could go on and on.
The point is a simple one. Losing stinks. But it is inevitable at times. This doesn’t mean we should accept it or stop doing what we can to avoid it in the scenarios in which we are active participants.
But, it doesn’t have to make us miserable. Joy can in fact be had even in losing situations. All we have to do is look for it.