It is often said that it’s not about winning or losing but the way you play the game. That is true. What is true about it is that the way you play the game often determines if you win or lose.
Our culture is becoming more and more focused on a lack of competition. Parents are told that their children are too young to compete and it will scare them psychologically or something. Schools are discouraged from highlighting overachievers in academics because they don’t want to make anyone else feel bad. Competitive events feel the need to give all participants a medal or trophy so that “everyone is a winner.” When this happens, it does not make everyone a winner. it does make everyone appear the same, but those that put in extra effort are not rewarded for it. As a result, we discourage that high level of work. There must be something to reach for, or we will often stop reaching —it is our nature.
Reality is that life is often a competition. We compete for the a place on a sports team, for a place in college, for a spouse, for a job, and the list goes on.
I am not saying that you must win all the time to be happy. What I am saying is that we should PREPARE to the highest level of our ability — all the time. This preparation that is often lacking. Practice may not make you perfect, but if you practice well, you probably won’t suck.
Today was my four year olds first soccer game. His team lost by about 30 points. Why? The other team was better prepared. They had been trained, coached, and were ready with a plan. Hayden’s team does little at practice and they did little at the game. I heard from someone at the game, “well, they are just 4 and 5 year olds, what can you expect.” The other team was just 4 and 5 year olds and they clearly had the capacity to be trained in the basics of the sport.
For some reason, we are so quick to make excuses for our children and ourselves. Children DO HAVE the capacity to be trained, at anything. It can still be fun – and it should be, but there must be a plan to improve week by week, year by year.
Needless to say, Hayden and I are going to be spending a lot more time with the soccer ball in the yard. I am not the teams coach, but I can work with him individually so he can improve. I want to teach him that with hard work pays off.
Hard work is fun because it often yields great fruit. We will reap what we sow, in the little things and the big.