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Why I Love Defeat

24 November 2009

It is trite, of course, to say it.  Shopworn.  Redundant.  Banal.  Superfluous.  But it needs to be said anyway.

—–

qb cherishes these days with the two younger ones, Silas and Isaac, because Dad still gets to coach them.  All three of the boys are athletic and skilled, and over the years their teams have won far more games than they’ve lost.  Keeping in mind that half of the teams (and therefore half of the players) that play on any given day will lose, our boys have lived fairly privileged sporting lives.  They win…a lot.

Oh, how privilege seems to give way to a sense of entitlement.

—–

The youngest is on a basketball team that qb coaches, and somehow our team of seven ended up with the better players in the school.  So when the P. E. teachers started this year’s school championships, which ended today, four of the boys grabbed one other talented boy and formed a sort of all-star team.  Before this morning’s final game, qb overheard one of the P. E. teachers saying today that she had wanted to split them up, but they wouldn’t have any of it.  And they breezed through the first couple of rounds, soundly beating all comers.

I suppose I should mention their team name to give you a flavor of what we’re dealing with:  the “Chick Magnets.”

—–

You know what’s coming, don’t you?  (Yep, they lost in the final.)

—–

So here’s why I love defeat:

1.  It puts the lie to any sense of entitlement.

2.  It is a Darwinian schoolmaster that ruthlessly punishes the one-man show.

3.  It debases the superstars and exalts the humble, team-oriented ones.

4.  It reminds us that when the competition is past, when the cheers have faded, and when the trophies have gathered their dust, what remains is whatever love has been invested in the friendships.

5.  It exposes any feigned respect and synthetic friendliness.

6.  It plants the seeds of empathy for the less fortunate, the less skilled, the less gifted, and the oppressed.

7.  It fosters contentment and joy over greed and thrills.

8.  It challenges our work ethic.

9.  It reminds us that even God himself will mock God-given talent if it suits his purposes.

—–

Character, boys, character.

qb

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