Losing is hard

Today’s basketball loss was hard. Jacob’s team had made it to the QuarterFinals in the RBYB League. Tonight’s game was against the Thunders. Our team, the Kings, had won them earlier in the season. Could they win again? Oh how we hoped! And yet it didn’t happen. The final score ended up being 31 to 45. That hurt.

I think the defeat felt so intense because everyone truly believed deep down to the marrow of their bones that they were champion material. Weekly their amazing coach painted a picture of success for the boys and the incredible potential of their skill and effort. Tonight’s loss hurt because the boys knew that a win could have and should have been possible.

Tonight my mama heart hurt as I watched the faces of these 5th and 6th grade boys be overcome by that really, really hard feeling of defeat. The chance at advancing to the quarterfinals and eventually the championship game, was no longer an option. It was gone. Vanished. Their basketball season was over. And that makes losing really, really hard. When you have to walk out of a gym and hang up your sneakers, ending a whole season of hard work on a loss. And, yet, that’s what causes kids to develop fibers of resilience and strength for their future. Or at least that’s what we hope for.

I recently saw a post made by a man named Mark Wolpert about how paying for our kids’ involvement in sports is an investment. He wrote:

-I pay for those moments when my kids become so tired they want to quit but don’t.

– I pay for my kids to learn to be disciplined, focused and dedicated.

– I pay for my kids to learn to take care of their body and equipment.

– I pay for my kids to learn to work with others and to be good team mates, gracious in defeat and humble in success.

– I pay for my kids to learn to deal with disappointment, when they don’t get that placing or title they’d hoped for, but still they go back week after week giving it their best shot.

– I pay for my kids to learn to make and accomplish goals.

– I pay for my kids to respect, not only themselves, but other athletes, officials and coaches.

– I pay for my kids to learn that it takes hours and hours, years and years of hard work and practice to create a champion and that success does not happen overnight.

– I pay for my kids to be proud of small achievements, and to work towards long term goals.

– I pay for the opportunity my kids have and will have to make life-long friendships, create lifelong memories, to be as proud of their achievements as I am.

– I pay so that my kids can be out on the field or in the gym instead of in front of a screen…

…I could go on but, to be short, I don’t pay for sports; I pay for the opportunities that sports provides my kids with to develop attributes that will serve them well throughout their lives and give them the opportunity to bless the lives of others. From what I have seen so far I think it is a great investment!

We could not have been happier than to be a part of The Kings family, under the direction of Coach Keith. A coach can make or break a kid’s perspective of a sport, just like a teacher can be the reason a student loves or hates a subject. There is soooooooo much power that a coach has to shape a child’s outlook towards a sport. And this season Coach Keith inspired! He made a powerful positive impact on each of the boys. He was indeed an inspirational coach. He trained the boys both physically and mentally. Coach Keith would send out emails with encouraging challenges tailored specifically for each boy. He’d end emails with quotes like “The man who wins, is the man who thinks he can.” (Vince Lombardi). The super hard part, tonight, was that they thought they could, but didn’t. And that’s life, my friends.

Tonight 8 boys went to bed extremely bummed out, with a strain of the heavy feeling of defeat on their chests.

Will life go on tomorrow? Yes.

How will tonight’s loss have shaped these boys into who they will one day become as men?

The best we can all hope for is that they will continue to strive, believe, hope and work hard. That they will continue to give life their all, even in the face of defeat.

Sometimes even when you have a legitimate shot at winning, you lose.

Thankfully we had an incredible season and these boys were in the presence of a coach who was marked by integrity, excellence, and a passion for basketball. He asked them to give their all, and he modeled giving his all. All I can say is that I’m so so so so so grateful that all the Tuesday and Thursday evenings of practices plus all the weekend game time, Jacob was under the guidance and leadership of a coach who was so extremely positive and inspirational and so bent on skill development of the entire team!

Tonight closes Jacob’s basketball season.

Muscles have been exercised, skills have been developed, character has been sharpened.

I call that a win!

Dominic #12, Cooper #11, Jason#3, Cheogal #1, Keith #10, Luciano #2, Jacob #5 & Lucas #4 along with Coach Keith & Coach Jerry.

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