Son, there are those who tell you that winning is everything. And there are those who will tell you that winning means nothing. They are both dead wrong.
The "winning is everything" crowd will tell you that if you can't win, then there is no reason to play. All of their life is wrapped up in being better than someone else. They keep a ranking system in their heads, and somehow they must be at the top. They identify the whole world as either winners, or losers.
The "winning means nothing" crowd will tell you to just have fun, and don't worry about trying to win. They will tell you that you shouldn't try so hard to win, because winning doesn't mean anything. For them, it's all about how playing the game makes you feel. As long as they keep winning they will feel good and keep playing. But they will eventually quit, because everybody loses sometimes.
Winning, my son, is fruit. It is the result of competing with honor. We don't use that word much today. Honor isn't something we talk about enough. It is hard to define honor. It is integrity, respect, trust, working hard, playing fair and following the rules all wrapped up in one word. We show honor to someone by putting them ahead of our wants and needs.
Competing with honor means -
- honoring the game. Play by the rules, and play hard.
- honoring your opponent. Play fair, and play hard. Hold your head up when you lose, and be humble when you win.
- honoring your coaches. Listen and follow instructions. Always assume they know more than you.
- honoring your teammates. Don't be a ball-hog, or a glory-hound. Always try to make your teammates look good, and give credit away.
When you compete with honor, winning will come. In the end, winning IS competing with honor. Do that, my son, and no matter what the scoreboard says, I will be proud.
Although I wanted my players to work to win, I tried to convince them they had always won when they had done their best. John Wooden