Thursday, April 08, 2010

Losing as a character-building activity

Here's another classic from my newswriting career. The following is a column I wrote for the sports section published in April of 2005. Enjoy.

A long time ago somebody said “You can’t win until you first know how to lose.” Whoever came up with this saying was kidding himself and he ought to be kicked in the shin for his efforts.

While I don’t consider myself an expert on losing I did attend a high school that boasted a .317 winning percentage (in all sports combined) so I have a feeling that I know what I’m talking about. We certainly knew how to lose, but winning never seemed to come as easily. This years Snow College football team won as many games this season (7) as my high school team won in four years.

But you know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way.

It’s easy to have a lot of school spirit when your team wins more games than it loses. It takes a much tougher fan to pull for the side that is losing seven out of every ten games. You need a thick skin and a big heart to endure an entire season in that sort of grueling atmosphere.

When you are rooting for an unsuccessful program you learn to enjoy humble pie by the slice. The losses come in droves and before long losing becomes easier to bear because you no longer fear it, you have done it plenty of times before, and when that one big win comes around you thrive off of it for months.

During my senior year our school’s football team finally managed to win our homecoming game for the first time in the history of the school against arguably our biggest rival that we had never beaten.

And although we lost a lot more games than we won throughout the rest of the school year all anybody ever talked about until the day of graduation was how we miraculously beat Bingham that Friday night in September.

Losing also brings the school community together. Everybody is fighting the good fight together. There is no “jock” clique because who wants to be in a clique that can’t win? Other, more successful school programs also get more attention, I still remember the first time I caught myself bragging to some kids from a rival school, “Your wrestlers may be good, but our Madrigals would rock your world any day of the week.”

Now all 3,000 or so of us have come together in this salad bowl of experiences that is Snow College, all of us bringing our own special ingredients to the table where we get to cheer for a winning athletic program.

Those of us that came from winning high schools will teach the rest of us how to win, and the rest of us from the less than successful programs will teach the winners how to live up the wins and live down the losses.

No comments: