The Double Defeat: Can you lose twice in one competition? / 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, and this Coach Note is no exception. One of my favorite autobiographies is "When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi,"I just really enjoy his story, especially that moment when the priesthood made him choose between being a minister or a football coach. History tells us what he decided.

The great 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 coach is: 

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

Many coaches make a mistake in thinking Lombardi was obsessed with the scoreboard, but hey leave out the rest of the quote:

"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."

This quote was in a much bigger speech, but these few lines were the thesis.  When going against a far superior competitor, winning on the scoreboard may not be realistic. 

Winning can be accomplished even though the score says you were defeated, and the scoreboard does not limit the EFFORT that goes into the final score.

Going “all out “ and "leaving nothing on the field" is imperative. That's what competing is all about! You compete, regardless of the score. You strive to win, you prepare to win, but the opponent does the same. 

The beauty of athletics is the dance between opponents, each responding and reacting to the other as they pour out their mental and physical strength in an attempt to become the victor until the next battle.

Once the engagement is over, 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.