I Won a Trophy but Lost

good-try-trophyWe are in a sports culture that if your kid wins a tournament you feel like your kid is really good. Never mind it was the loser bracket or they beat three teams that were horrible and you know it!

Winning that kind of tournaments may actually leave one with a false sense of security that your kid is on the right path of development. That false sense of security may even lead you to seek out more of those types of tournaments that your kid can win simply to foster this sense of accomplishment. You could even stay on that path because you see joy on your child’s face as they collect awards.

But honestly, when I trained martial arts, I use to think I was good until I got outside of my own dojo and got my butt kicked.

You can’t know if you are good enough until you test yourself against better people. You can’t get good until you get in the gym 5 to six times a week working and sweating, pushing yourself beyond your perceived limitations.

Champions understand that losing to a better team by 10-15 points is much more a teacher than is a picture on Facebook drenched in accessories won by beating average teams. Until you are faced with diversity, suffer loss or are challenged to your max, your true will-to-win, drive and skills aren’t tested. A competitive game serves as a launching point to build. It wasn’t until I saw kids better than me that I changed my training strategy.  A challenge builds resilience and in this praise everyone culture we are lacking in tough resilient kids.

Don’t be focused on the reward as much as development. While getting a reward can be fun initially, Vivian Diller, Ph.D., a psychologist, believes awards in themselves have no long term value. You might have lots of medals and trophies but if you’ve never been really challenged and succeeded, you’ve really lost.

Here are some things you gain when you face tough opponents.

  1. Life isn’t fair. You win and lose in life.
  2. Practice harder and smarter.
  3. Success is an all the time effort.
  4. Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life has not.
  5. Opportunity is a great teacher.
  6. Persistence builds character.
  7. Battling a worthy opponent builds mental toughness.



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