I have to admit I was surprised. Not because our team lost (although that was surprising), but what got to me was how I felt. Watching my son cry after losing in the third round of the playoffs… I know in the grand scheme of life it’s not a huge deal, but any time we see our kids in pain we want to take it and there was nothing I could do… he just had to feel it and process it.
The season was remarkable. They were undefeated and division champs. But Wednesday was not their day. They lost. I’ve tried to help Ethan think from a long-term perspective about losing. Just because you lose doesn’t mean you don’t have a culture of winning. There are things we can learn from a loss that we don’t learn any other way in life. Things like:
– You and I are not perfect. We are going to have some bad days in life. We’re going to make poor choices at times. We will not have our best day every single day. That can and should make us incredibly grateful for grace.
– In losing we learn what we’re made of. That playoff loss doesn’t define them. They are still the division champs with an undefeated regular season. One loss does not erase 9 victories. Anybody would consider 9-1 a phenomenal season and call that a winning team. Your worst day or worst game does not define you. It’s the momentum of your life and mine, the overall picture that paints who we are.
– Pain. Loss brings pain. So many people try to avoid their pain, or ignore it. When we process pain in a healthy way it serves as a constant reminder that people we encounter everyday are often living in some kind of pain. Because we’ve felt it, it should make us more compassionate. Every face has a story. Embrace pain and let God use it to change us and make us more caring and compassionate people.
– Hope. There’s always next season (and I can’t wait!) and in your life and mine there’s always tomorrow. Jesus said, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” in Jeremiah 29:11. When you know that, and live that today becomes yesterday and you walk into tomorrow knowing all things are possible with God.
Everybody experiences loss. You and I get to decide if we will let that define us and stop us, or if it is nothing more than a learning experience in a culture of winning. Based on Ethan’s team and coaches (I have a great admiration for his coaches – I’ve never seen any better), they have created and are living a culture of winning… and are more than ready for next season.