One of the most important,and difficult,lessons playing sports can teach is how to lose gracefully and accept disappointment.
Everybody loves winning. But in sports, nobody wins all the time. Everyone loses.
At the beginning of any pro sports season, dozens of teams begin with the same championship dreams. Only one will hold up the trophy at the end of the year. It’s the same with college, high school and youth leagues. There are always more losers than winners.
Even the best athletes lose. Many basketball fans think Michael Jordan is the greatest player of all time. Jordan won six National Basketball Association (NBA) championships with the Chicago Bulls.
But Jordan didn’t win his first title until his seventh NBA season. LeBron James has a similar story. James didn’t win his first championship until his ninth season. That’s a lot of years of disappointment.
Serena Williams is probably the greatest women’s tennis player of all time. Her career singles record is an amazing 843-147 (843 wins, 147 losses). Still, that means she lost 147 times. Williams had to pick herself up, dust herself off and try harder next time.
One good thing is that in sports, winning and losing are clear. No one can deny it. Let’s say your team lost a soccer game by one goal. You can’t walk off the field and say you won. If you did, people would think you were a sore loser.
So how can you learn not to be a sore loser? First, admit defeat. There’s no shame in losing if you tried your hardest. So anytime you or your team loses say, “they were better than we were.”
Second, don’t make excuses. Don’t say, “We would have won if. . . .” Don’t talk about bad luck or injured teammates. And definitely don’t say, “The refs were against us.”
The ability to admit defeat and not make excuses is not only important in sports, but in life. No lawyer wins every case. No doctor cures every patient. No teacher turns everyone in the classroom into an “A” student.
After all, if you can’t admit defeat when you lose, maybe you shouldn’t play the game.