When I was younger, one of my favorite hobbies was soccer. I played competitively for 8 years and during that time, I played on every type of team imaginable. I experienced a lot of highs—like winning a championship with an undefeated team—and generally improved my athletic skills over those 8 years.

I also experienced the lows. Losing. I played on some exceedingly bad teams where it seemed we were incapable of doing anything skilled or strategic. The absolute worst occurred when I was 11 years old. The team went 0-9 and only scored a whopping 3 goals the entire year.

Losing is painful however it happens. In soccer, it doesn’t matter if you lose 5-4 in a penalty kick shootout or receive a 7-0 beat-down. Maybe it is slightly more agonizing to lose close one because it is easy to imagine how things could have gone differently… If only.

Let’s explore losing badly: investing time and effort in an endeavor and not even coming close to being respectable in failure. That feeling when we are down 3-0 and we wonder…Why try? Why even attempt to compete if there is no chance of a comeback?

I have failed at more things in life than I care to recall. Some college courses called upon me to slave away simply to earn a “D”. I quit a job prematurely due to my inability to successfully work there. I walked away from some social circles because I could not connect with the people.

Failure is difficult and, when it happens continually, it can be crippling. But it can also afford invaluable experience. Failure provides opportunities, because by failing, we can choose either to remain stagnant or we can use the experience instructively to improve, to be resilient.

Like Alfred says in Batman Begins: “Why do we fall? To get back up again.” Somehow it is that much more beautiful to get up when you know what it’s like to be down. When you have long been on the losing side, winning means more.

Release being overly afraid of losing and embrace the call to learn from failure. I still remember being down 3-0 in games and still going all out, trying to get my team back in a game that was essentially over. Maybe it is too late for one opportunity, but we shape what happens next. Failure is not the end of our stories. If anything, failure is the beginning of a series of new possibilities, new vision, new POWER.

***James Reagan writes about traveling, sports and other topics that he feels compelled to discuss. https://benefitsofan8amcurfew.wordpress.com/ ***

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