There’s Only one Winner

No matter how hard you try and no matter how badly you want it, in sports or in nearly any game, there is only one winner. I’m not going to try to convince you that winning isn’t the object of the game. It is. If it were not, there would be no reason to keep score. If you enjoy sports, I’m sure you actually thrive on the competition. It’s one of the things that drives you to succeed.

Still, at the end of the game only one team will walk away a winner, and it won’t always be your team. Learn how to lose gracefully and congratulate the winning team. Losing a game doesn’t make you a loser. It just means the other team played a little better than your team on this particular day at this particular game. It may feel like it, but it’s really not a reflection on you personally.

And tomorrow is another day. You will play again. A loss is not the end of the world.

Make it fun

Of course, all this is a little easier to take if you remember why you started playing the game in the first place. As a child, sports started out as a fun pastime you enjoyed. You didn’t start out thinking you were going to make it this far or play the game only if you knew you were going to win.

You started learning the sport to learn new skills and improve your existing ones, to spend time with your friends and enjoy a special bond with others who liked the same things you did, and to have a good time.

So make sure that even now, you’re playing the game to have a good time. Go out there and have fun. A vital and necessary part of being involved in a team sport is enjoying the game. Being part of a team is a social experience and a special camaraderie develops between players on the same team. Honor and respect are earned and shared among the players. It’s like belonging to a special or exclusive club. You’ve all worked hard to get where you are.

At the same time, anytime you quit enjoying the game, your performance — and therefore the team’s performance — is going to suffer. You cannot do something you don’t like and do it well — at least not for very long. And why would you want to?

So what are you waiting for? Let’s “play ball!” Go out there and have a good time, enjoy yourself and enjoy playing the game, do your part to the best of your ability, and when you’ve done your part, pass it on to the next player … let go of the ball!

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