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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Trophy Dust

For years I charaded as an athletic coach.  Those experiences were most formative for me as a professional, and informative for me as a person.  I am grateful that I was allowed to experience some “losing” early on.  Not “winning,” not getting what you think you want, has a powerfully grounding effect on one.  When those unfulfilled goals/dreams slap you around a bit, one is faced with a choice – either figure out ways to get better, or wallow in victimhood (excuse making, blame throwing, etc.). 

Thanks to numerous worthy mentors and models in my life, I learned that the former approach is the one with the most fidelity.  The game, the season, the day, the fiscal year, the initiative always end with a balance sheet of pluses AND minuses (whether you finish first or dead last).  The worth in the process is how you pursue the journey, how you take stock of the outcomes, and how you choose to proceed from that point.  From those blessed mentors, models, and experiences I learned that the power is really in the journey, the growth, the getting better - on purpose, every day.

To be fair, along the way I was blessed to have experienced some “wins,” too.  We won some games we shouldn’t have, got some honors, received some acknowledgements, experienced some successes.  We won some trophies!  The thing about those trophies is that they are terribly efficient dust collectors.  Once the moment of elation is past, trophies promptly begin collecting dust.

Today’s wins are but flashes in the pan.  Same goes for the losses.  Success is a journey.  Reflection is a requirement. Self-assessment must be a compulsion.  Adaptability should be trained into our psyche.  Somewhat ironically, we can learn and grow as much from the “losses” as we do from the “wins.”

So thankful for those mentors and models who patiently taught me how to proceed with a balanced view of “winning” (and “losing”).   


  1. But the cool thing is win or lose (according to the scoreboard) your students were always "winners." The way you treated them and the things they learned, they were better off for being in your program.

  2. You just articulated one of my persistent prayers - that our students/athletes would somehow be better people and more capable as a result of our work with them. Thanks.

  3. "We won some games we shouldn’t have..."
    Like Robert Lee vs. Roscoe circa 1985!

    And as for you charading as a coach, I have to disagree. You were a huge mentor and role model for me, and helped me turn my life around when it was getting a little crooked! I don't know if I ever thanked you for that, but if not, THANKS!


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