The Double Defeat / by James Leath

Can you lose twice in one competition?

Growing up playing football as my main sport, I have a tendency to lean on football analogies when trying to explain my point. I recently reread When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince LombardiNFL legendary coach Vince Lombardi had a profound understanding of the human spirit and used rhetoric as his number one tool. The quote I hear most often from this legendary NFL coach is: 

"Winning is not a sometime thing; it's an all time thing."

Many coaches make the mistake in thinking Lombardi was obsessed with the scoreboard. The rest of the quote goes like this:

"You don't win once in a while, you don't do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time. Winning is habit. Unfortunately, so is losing."

Of course, this quote was in a much bigger speech, but this was the thesis. Winning can be accomplished even though the score says you were defeated. When going against a far superior competitor, winning on the scoreboard may not be realistic but going all out and "leaving nothing on the field" is imperative. Why not? That's what competing is all about! You compete, regardless of the score. You strive to win, you prepare to win, but the opponent has done the same. The beauty of athletics is the dance between opponents, responding and reacting to each other as they pour our their mental and physical strength in an attempt to become the victor for a short while. Once the engagement is over, however, it can only be replayed in the mind and on video--frozen in time.  

When the scoreboard says defeat, and you have given yourself completely to the experience, you can hang your head high knowing you gave your all. 

But if you held back, and you lost, you lost TWICE: A double defeat.

That will for sure keep you up late at night sobbing about your "what if" story.