Are We Winners Or Losers?

There ought to be a law that bans waking up before sunrise on the day after Halloween and if I ever run for political office I might make it a central part of my platform.

We roll out of bed in the darkness, listen to the sound of falling rain and wonder if the games will be cancelled.

Old men like myself have fond memories of playing in mud and rain with no fear of injuries but we are children of the 70s who played on the blacktop in the summer and went down metal slides on days when the temperature rose above 100.

Sometimes it really hurt to go down that slide but you didn’t cry or show pain because we were tough and we were ready to be stuntmen who jumped buses like Evel Knievel.

But those were different days when our parents could feed us whatever, finish three packs of cigarettes and a case of beer and drive us home. No one said a word or if they did we were oblivious to it.

Now you don’t tell the other parents if you took your kids to McDonalds because they’ll report you for child abuse. You don’t tell your children that their team sucks because you might hurt their self esteem crush them forever. And you do your best to remind the other moms and dads that your kid knew how to wipe their butt at 2 weeks and speak in full sentences at 5.

Are We Winners Or Losers?

Standing in the rain I look up and realize I cannot remember the last time I wore a sweatshirt and long pants because it was cold outside. Can’t remember the last time my face got wet because precipitation from the clouds was dropping down upon it nor can I recall the last time we won a game.

That is because we have only won one all season long and I had to leave early that day so I missed the celebration.

They say the most important thing is for our kids have fun. They tell us to focus on the positives and not talk about the negative. We are not supposed to spend time talking about losses because we don’t want to have a negative impact upon their self esteem.

We are supposed to focus upon all of the positive parts of team sports and to help these kids learn how to work together as a team.

I hate losing each week and am more irritated because the kids don’t seem to care enough to try a little bit harder. In the beginning they lost because their individual skills weren’t tremendous and their teamwork was suspect.

Every week since the beginning there has been marked improvement and now as the losses pile up I see the cause as a lack of will and that is hard for me.

Part of me says it doesn’t matter who wins or loses as long as they have fun but another piece says that is nonsense. You don’t have to win all the time but you really don’t need to lose all the time either.

There is a middle ground.

But I don’t hear the girls asking questions about why we keep losing nor do they seem to listen very well to suggestions for overcoming the deficiencies.

Coaches can only do so much to teach, motivate and inspire. We can’t play the game for them. We can’t teach them will or desire.

We look in the mirror and ask if the problem lies within us. We ask if there is a technique, tool or resource we should lose or incorporate. We ask ourselves how much of the blame should we assume.

Accountability is important.

Cloudy Skies

The hole in the sky doesn’t send forth rain for long and instead opts to send down rays of light. It is not warm enough to dry the earth beneath my feet but it is enough to silence the talk about canceling the games.

I listen to the parents and wonder if maybe the lackadaisical attitude comes from home.

A hundred feet away from me I see a guy I play ball with. Not long ago he asked me if I am crazy because I dove on the ground for the ball.

“It is just for fun. Why would you do that?”

The question has been asked before and the answer  is always the same, “because one day I won’t be able to do it anymore.”

I wonder if one of these kids will challenge the others. I wonder if one will ask if we are winners or losers or if they are content with what they have.

When the season ends we’ll all be able to say the kids improved their individual skills and made great strides playing together as a team. I wonder if they’ll care about their win/loss record.

Most of the time I just want to be able to see and say they had fun but sometimes I wish they would say they hate losing and give just a little bit more effort because the margin between winning the games they lost is that thin.

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  1. Larry November 2, 2014 at 11:53 am

    I especially enjoyed those first few paragraphs.
    You are clearly competitive person. I have that strain as well when it comes to sports or pretty much any game actually. I’ve tried to tamper it – seems out of vogue.

    • The JackB November 3, 2014 at 8:01 am

      @Larry Yeah, there is a bit of a competitive spirit burning inside this guy. I try to tamp it down as well with the kids but in my games, it is harder to do.

      Although it is worth noting even though I hate losing the pickup games if I find myself not enjoying it because that fire burns too bright take a deep breath or leave. No reason not to have fun.

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