With all the baseball being played (or rained out) at our house, you'd think I'd be more focused on winning and losing. I'm not. Don't get me wrong, I get excited when one of the boys plays well, scores a run, makes a hit and yes, when their team wins.
However, I'm not a win at all costs kind of gal. I never have been. I guess competition just isn't in my blood. In fact, I avoid competition about as much as I avoid confrontation.
Last week there was story on the news about a local high school baseball coach who was suspended after admitting he had made an error in judgement. He instructed a pitcher to try to "bean" an opposing batter. When the pitcher refused, he was removed from the game. The next pitcher also refused. The pitchers had to stand up to adult authority to do what was right and in the end, the coach admitted his lapse in judgement to the athletic director. In the end everybody did what was right....but wow.
I hope that if or when my boys play high school sports, when their dad or I aren't right there acting as the good angels on their shoulders, they have the strength of character to do the right thing (if there's a question). Right now, they're all blessed with coaches who follow the rules, want the boys to build skills and be good sports. The motto is, "Do your best and have fun. " (Winning is more fun. ;) )
Every once in a while you come across "win at all costs, you must be the best, winning is everything" people. I'm hoping my boys are not among them...whether it be on the field, in the classroom or living life in general, I want my boys to do their best, but not at the expense of another.
I do believe there are some costs not worth paying in order to be the best. Unsportsmanlike behavior, hoarding resources (ever know someone who takes out every book on a subject when a paper is assigned so none of their peers have access?), not slowing down to offer help to someone in need...worrying so much about my own well being that I neglect to see the glaring, urgent need around me...those "me first, too bad for you" behaviors all have a cost. The cost might not be immediately seen or felt, but it's there...kind of like mortgaging a piece of your soul..and the interest..wooo weee!
Some say, "Show me a good loser and I'll show you a loser." I don't think so. It's great to celebrate the win, but it's also important to recognize that loss doesn't always equal failure. Being the best isn't always as important as the accomplishment you feel when doing your best. How you get to where you are...that matters far more.
I think a phrase from "American Dream" by Casting Crowns says it pretty well...."He used to say, "Whoever dies with the most toys wins" But if he loses his soul, what has he gained in the end?"
It's more fun to win. It's a bigger ego boost to be at the top of the class than struggling to get a "C". It's more comfortable to have the big house and the fancy car. BUT..what I do on the journey....is far more important than the (temporary) destination.
Prayers that your struggles be few, that your successes be measured by your behavior on the journey and that each day you can say, "I did my best".