Sore Losers

“I wanted to mention to the team that Vane sent out an email a couple of hours ago. If you have a chance, please read it.”

Cate was sitting on one of the side benches of the court, with most of us standing up around her. I looked around subtly, to see if Vanessa was there, but she wasn’t.

“In this email, she expressed that she is worried about the fact that we haven’t won a game yet.”

I observed the faces gathered in the semi-circle, but none of them were grim at Cate’s words.

Cate continued, “All I ask myself is if she’s worried, then I’m not sure what I should be feeling…some sort of mental breakdown.”

I laughed internally, smiling on the outside.

“We come to practice: doing speed and agility drills, shooting, learning about position movement, and practising plays. We aren’t winning, I think, because we get anxious during our games. Because we don’t concentrate. In the last game we were not defending hard enough.”

Her eyes moved from person to person, and for a moment, she made eye contact with me.

“So, practice is part of this process. Now-”

Carla interrupted.

“I personally come to practice because I love playing basketball. Not because I’m thinking about the win or loss of our last game.”

There were a couple of nods and agreeing responses to her statement. I related to Carla’s words and noticed how a lot of the players who were getting the most frustrated at our losses, were the same ones who weren’t coming to practice so often. In each of our games, learning and progress is evident, in both group and individual realms.

For example, during our last game to UBA, I felt I was not in the game, both physically and mentally. I was on some sort of autopilot. However, I was able to recognize this during the game and played my best in that moment. I believe that this awareness is important.

I understand winning or success is an important factor in any endeavour, but I wonder which you need more in order to be the best: more winnings or losses.

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