Saturday, October 23, 2010

Random Thoughts on Winning and Losing

Get ready for some quotes and stories! I'm mostly writing this down for journal purposes! But just a warning, it's going to be long! :)

This volleyball season has probably been one of the most difficult to coach. Don't get me wrong there's been plenty of good times and lots of really good memories, but I feel like I've had to deal with a lot more than I normally have in past years. I think part of that might be a full time job on top of coaching but that's beside the point. :)

I am not a good loser and it's something I wish I could have a better attitude about. :) I'm trying. It's been kind of a blah week. The change of weather must have been getting to me or something! Anyways! Whatever it was, I was definitely in a funk! I get these weekly emails (quotes of the day) and I had got this one awhile back.
"It is important to know, when you feel down, that many others do also and that their circumstances are generally much worse than yours. And it's important to know that when one of us is down, it becomes the obligation of his friends to give him a lift." - Gordon B. Hinckley

How grateful I am for good friends who lift me up when I'm down. During this blah week I got a couple of random texts from people. These texts were just what I needed to help me get out of my little funk. They went something along these lines:

"Hey Jillian. I just wanted to let you know I love ya and thanks for everything you do for us."

"Just know that there are girls on that team who look up to you as a role model, even though you may not see it, there are girls who love you and follow your example. Your effort as a coach is making a difference in some girl's life. I know that cause I was one of those girls three years ago! Don't ever forget that."

Simple texts that changed my whole week! Little did these people know that their simple words at random times made me feel a million times better! So the next time you think you should thank some one or tell them how much you love them, DO IT, you never know how much of a difference you can make in their day, week, or life!

Towards the middle of this season, the varsity team kind of went into a little slump, and we were having a hard time finishing games. We would start out great but then we couldn't finish and it was really discouraging. We spent countless hours as a coaching staff figuring out how to solve this problem. During this time I found this quote:

Don't Quit

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don't you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don't give up though the pace seems slow--
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than,
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victor's cup,
And he learned too late when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out--
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit--
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.

Loved the message that it portrayed! On Friday after practice Suzette (volleyball coach) gave me this book to read called, "The Race" by Dee Groberg. She said that it would help me feel better and might give me a different perspective on things. It's actually a poem that they turned into a book. I immediately ordered myself a copy as soon as I finished reading! Here is the poem:

The Race
By: Dee Groberg

"Quit, give up, you're beaten!"
They shout at me and plead.
"There's just too much against you now.
This time you can't succeed."

And as I start to hang my head
In front of failure's face,
My downward fall is broken by
The memory of a race.

And hope refills my weakened will
As I recall that scene,
For just the thought of that short race
Rejuvenates my being.

A child's race, young boys, young men
How I remember well,
Excitement sure! But also fear.
It wasn't hard to tell.

They all lined up so full of hope
Each thought to win the race,
Or tie for 1st or if not that
At least take 2nd place.

And fathers watched from off the sides
Each cheering for his son,
And each boy hoped to show his Dad
That he would be the one.

The whistle blew and off they went
Young hearts and hopes afire
To win to be the hero there
Was each young boys desire.

And one boy in particular
Whose Dad was in the crowd
Was running near the lead and thought,
"My Dad will be so proud!"

But as he speeded down the field
Across a shallow dip,
The little boy who thought to win
Lost his step and slipped.

Trying hard to catch himself
His hands flew out to brace
And mid the laughter of the crowd
He fell flat on his face.

So down he fell and with him hope
He couldn't win it now...
Embarrassed, sad he only wished
To disappear somehow.

But as he fell his Dad stood up
And showed his anxious face
Which to the boy so clearly said:
"Get up and win the race!"

He quickly rose, no damage done,
Behind a bit, that's all
And ran with all his mind and might
To make up for his fall.

So anxious to restore himself
To catch up and to win.
His mind went faster than his legs
He slipped and fell again.

He wished that he had quit before
With only one disgrace,
"I'm hopeless as a runner now.
I shouldn't try to race."

But in the laughing crowd he searched
And found his Father's face,
That steady look that said again,
"Get up and win the race!"

So up he jumped to try again
Ten yards behind the last,
"If I'm going to gain those yards," he thought
"I've got to move real fast!"

Exerting everything he had
He regained eight or ten,
But trying so hard to catch the lead
He slipped and fell again!

Defeat! He lay there silently
A tear dropped from his eye.
"There's no sense running anymore
Three strikes; I'm out; why try!"

The will to rise had disappeared
All hope had fled away;
So far behind, so error-prone:
A loser all the way.

"I've lost so what's the use?" He thought
"I'll live with my disgrace."
But then he thought about his Dad
Who soon he'd have to face.

"Get up" an echo sounded low
"Get up and take your place,
You were not meant for failure here,
Get up and win the race!"

"With borrowed will, Get up" It said,
"You haven't lost at all,
For winning is no more than this
To rise each time you fall."

So up he rose to run once more
And with a new commit,
He resolved that win or lose
At least he wouldn't quit.

So far behind the others now
The most he'd ever been,
Still he gave it all he had
And ran as though to win.

Three times he'd fallen stumbling
Three times he rose again,
Too far behind to hope to win
He still ran to the end.

They cheered the winning runner
As he crossed the line 1st place,
Head high, and proud and happy
No falling, no disgrace.

But when the fallen youngster
Crossed the line last place,
The crowd gave him the greater cheer
For finishing the race.

And even though he came in last
With head bowed low, unproud,
You would have thought he'd won the race
To listen to the crowd.

And to his Dad he sadly said,
"I didn't do so well,"
"To me you won!" his Father said
"You rose each time you fell."

And now when things seem dark and hard
And difficult to face,
The memory of that little boy
Helps me in my race.

For all of life is like that race
With ups and downs and all,
And all you have to do to win
Is rise each time you fall.

"Quit, Give up, You're beaten."
They still shout in my face,
But another voice within me says,
"Get up and win the race."


I'll be the first to admit that I'm WAY too competitive, and often times focus entirely on winning and not necessarily the process that it takes to win. This story gave me such a different perspective on winning; one that I had never even considered before. The simple fact of the matter is that even if you do not "win" the race, or the game, you can still be a winner as long as you rise each time you fall! Don't get me wrong, that doesn't mean you accept losing. BUT, it does mean that the measure of your success doesn't always hinge upon wins and losses.

Regardless of what happens the rest of this volleyball season, I know that it will have been a successful year based on what some of these girls have overcome and the lessons they have learned. They've been knocked down a few times, and each time they have risen with renewed determination to be better and it has definitely shown!

What a week it's been! I'm grateful for the trials and the lessons that I learned throughout the week! I'm grateful for the ability to gain different perspectives on things as simple and unimportant as winning. I'm also grateful for nice people who send me random text messages and for good friends who are always looking out for me.

Remember... the next time you're feeling like a loser :) All you have to do to win is rise each time you fall.

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