Why Sports? Learn to Be Gracious

Young athletes learn how to lose gracefully and win
graciously.

When I was in the seventh grade, I played on a basketball team
that was undefeated. We were on top of the world, a world we
thought was owned by our seventh-grade basketball team. No
one could beat us. I vividly remember my parents telling me
that they wished we would lose a game. At the time, I did not
understand.

Now I do. Eventually, we lost a game, ending the season
with a 39-1 record. Over the course of my life as an athlete, I
would go on to lose many, many more games. I learned that a
team can work and work and work and still lose in the end. I

learned that a seventh-grade basketball team doesn’t own the
world. I learned to take it one game at a time—that just as easily,
a winning team can become a losing team. I also learned to
respect my competitors, recognizing that regardless of a team’s
record, every competitor has his strengths and weaknesses.
No purer analogy for life’s victories and spills exists than
this.

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