Today I was not the windshield, I was the bug. I had two tennis matches and I lost both. For the first time, I lost a singles match and I lost badly. We played to deuce over half of the games we played, I just couldn’t put it away. I was not happy. I went on to play a doubles match right after my singles match and I lost there too, not as badly but it was still in the “L” column. Our team lost the entire match and I was a big part of the loss. I was the bug squashed the windshield of life.
In the grand scheme of life these losses are no big deal but I hate losing. I don’t think I am a good or gracious loser. I try to be gracious but I get so stinking mad at myself for not performing well. I am sure my opponents think I am insane as I yell at myself for hitting the ball into the net. I think it is because of my frustration I am not a gracious loser. It’s easy for me to be gracious when I am winning; I think it easy for all of us to be gracious when we are winning. I think I did OK today trying to be a little gracious but…I truly hate losing.
Jan, or exchange student, is the tennis player in this house so he understands my frustration. He was the one who gave me a hug when I told him I lost and said it was OK. He gets the frustration with not being able to get things done on the court.
We all lose every now and again. Losing is a fact of life. It is how we handle the loss that defines our character. Lucas, our middle child, seems to have grasped this lesson. At last year’s travel hockey tryouts Lucas was the only one of his original team to get cut. It was a brutal blow to him. He got cut from the team when all of his friends were still together. Lucas was the bug squashed on the windshield but you would never have known it by his actions. The first thing he did after the hockey season started was to go and support his teammates at their first game. He was on the bench with his team but not a part of the team, really. He opened the door for the players as they went on and off the ice. He was their biggest chearleader. Last night at the hockey banquet Lucas went on to impress my friend, Heather. She talked about how character is shown when you are knocked down. It is how you react to being knocked down that defines you, she said. She was so impressed Lucas went to the banquet and sat with his former teammates. He stayed in his seat, alone at their table, as the team was called forward during the awards ceremony and he clapped his heart out for the players who won awards. Heather was so impressed by Lucas’ ability to not only rise to the occasion but to rise above. Lucas is well schooled in how to be a gracious loser. I hope he remembers how to be gracious, always.
I hope to keep Lucas’ lesson close to my heart so I can work harder and harder to be a gracious loser. I hope Lucas’ actions can rub off on the rest of us. In this respect, Lucas is far more mature than I am. I need Lucas to lead the way and I need to learn to handle being the bug a little better. I would much rather be the windshield, although I will continue to try things Lucas’ way for the love of all of our kids…