I have now experienced a losing season with each of my kid’s sports teams.
A few years ago, my son’s 6th grade hockey team lost every single league game it played. There were, at least, a few wins in tournaments.
Then, last year, my daughter’s hockey team lost every single game except one, which was a tie. That’s right. Not a single victory from October to March for her Under 10 hockey team.
I’m not going to lie. Losing is not fun. However, if you’re going to endure a losing season like we did, then there are some valuable lessons to be learned along the way. Lessons like:
- Losing bothered me more than them. Sad, but true. I thought they needed to win, for pride, for confidence, for whatever. But usually an hour after losing they had moved on to video games, a good book, or hanging out with friends. It was no biggie in their world.
- Losing builds resilience. My kids didn’t quit. They kept going.
- You know what? You win some, you lose some. Or, in our case, sometimes you lose them all. No better way to learn that than to live it.
- Lots of good stuff comes from playing on a team: teamwork (duh) and also companionship, sportsmanship, cooperation, leadership, and skill development.
- Life isn’t fair. If it was, everyone who worked hard at something would win. But winning isn’t based on who deserves to win.
- Losing helps to refocus your goals. My daughter’s team was filled with first-time hockey players with minimal skills. Unless they faced a similar team, they were never going to win. So the goals changed to more accomplishable things such as “Can you take a shot on goal? How about two? Can you win a face off?”
In the big scheme of things, losing all those games really didn’t matter. Indeed, here we are a year later, two years later, and no one cares about losing all those games in one season.
Plus, their teams are winning more this season. Who knows what next year brings, though!
Yet the lessons my kids learned from having a losing season–heck, that I learned from having a losing season–will remain with us. And maybe we’re better off for it.