We need to stop.
Far too many of us spend way too much time teaching our kids to be “winners”? (for the record… I’m a big fan of the “air quotes”).
Everyone likes a winner, but I’m not everyone. I like losers.
I think we need to teach them how to lose.
Winners are put on a pedestal, but I think losers are the ones who deserve our admiration.
This wasn’t the case when I was kid (back in the early 1800’s). I didn’t really have any interest in losing.
In fact, my first 4 years of youth baseball resulted in 4 undefeated championship seasons (if my memory hasn’t failed me… again).
Yes, that’s right. 4 seasons. 4 championships.
At that point in my life I was pretty sure I had it figured out. While I felt badly (a little) for the other teams we were crushing… actually, never mind… I didn’t feel badly at all.
What I felt was “I’m a Baseball God and You Losers are My Subjects and Should Bow Before Me.”
Some might take this as cockiness… and they would be correct.
As you can see, I had put little thought into the fact that I had teammates.
In my mind it was me and all me.
Life was good.
Show up. Go to practice. Win every game. Collect trophy. See you next year. Thanks for coming everybody and don’t forget to tip your waitress!
I’m not going to lie. It was sweet.
I was living the dream. At least as much of a dream that an 11 year old can live.
Things were going along quite nicely until year 5. Then we had a problem.
We didn’t win (notice when we won… all me… when we lost it was all “we”).
I don’t remember the exact details, but I wasn’t prepared to lose. Losing is what the other kids and teams did.
I’ve tried to erase the exact details from my mind, but I’m sure there was crying involved.
And possibly the sad attempt at trying to catch my breath while talking and trying to nonchalantly wipe the tears out of my eyes.
Turns out winning is easy. Losing is hard.
Especially when you’re not prepared for it.
Losing isn’t nice. It sneaks up and punches you right in the throat (maybe that’s what caused the man tears…).
This disastrous year 5 mega loss has haunted me for over 30 years. It has also resulted in my theory that we need to prepare our kids for losing not winning.
Winning is pretty self-explanatory. Not a lot of preparation goes into being a successful winner.
Losing is far more complicated.
And takes practice.