We often play a game we call "10". Everyone has a basketball and it’s a race to see who can get 10 baskets first by simply shooting. You can imagine that what ensues is a flurry of balls and numbers until someone declares "10" with a victorious grin.
Today in our usual game of "10", my youngest (G) kept losing. His ball was rolling down the hill, bouncing off the steps, going all over. The more he lost, the more he gave up.
And C even threw in a couple extra challenges, adding to the whole situation – bouncing his ball out, etc. Just to test his mettle a little.
At about game # 7 the big question came up: Would my son succumb to defeat and stomp off feeling grumpy? Or would he come back and defeat defeat?
He chose grumpiness. And in fact he was so grumpy – stomping off defiantly behind the picnic table – that C actually banned him from the next round. So he sat there and moped.
The next round he was invited back in with the admonishment: Are you ready to overcome this? Here is the test of a true champion. To not believe that you are a loser, to not listen to defeat even though it’s drumming it’s negative message it into your head.
Well – G did it. He soundly beat us the next two rounds.
Lesson: Just when you’re about to give up – that is usually when things turn. If you keep going and keep your focus, that’s when your fighting spirit really kicks in and you can make the change for the better.
For our kids this is one of the best lessons to take with them through life. And certainly, it’s something us adults could use frequently enough. Sports provides a great way to encounter the hard knocks of life and develop battle smarts with a little buffer from the larger tragedies and challenges that await us off the playing field.