Old school sports has a lot to teach us today. When I say old school sports I mean the lessons that were driven into our head after every victory or loss. I can hear my coaches say, “Show nothing but class. Blame no-one but yourself. Praise your opponent. Look for the lessons you learned. It’s okay to dance after the game with your date, but dancing has no place on the field or the court. Shake your opponents hand.” The list goes on and on.
One in particular sticks with me. “The measure of a true champion is in how he acts after victory not after a loss.”
These and many other lessons have stayed with me over seventy years. They began with the words and actions of my father, and hopefully I have passed them down to my children and grandchildren. On occasion, I am asked about some difficult moments I encountered. People ask, “Aren’t you bitter? Don’t you want to get even?” Fortunately the words of my father and my coaches kicks in. The answer is always, “No, bitterness serves no purpose, learning from the experience is always the right response.”
Yes, today some will dance as they should, and yes, some will cry, and that’s okay too. But in a few days when the dancing and crying ends, the question will be, “what will you take with you from this experience?” If the answer is bitterness and a desire to get even, no lesson was learned.
The game, the contest, winning and losing are all part of life. When the game is over, how we behave and what we do with the lessons we have learned measures our character. Today I ask myself,
“How Do I Measure Up?”