This past weekend the Swim Team I coach participated in our Annual County Championship Swim Meet. Tonight we celebrate our season with an Awards Banquet. As I prepare for what I’m going to say this evening, I’ve been thinking a lot about keys to success in both sports and life.
Honestly, it’s been sort of a challenging season. As far as our record, we got shellacked. We didn’t win a single meet and most of our loses were significant. We’re actually a very strong swim team, so you might be curious as to how a strong team can have such a weak record. What happens is our team gets moved from one division to another. Three years ago we went undefeated in a particular division, so last season we were moved up to the “super division” which includes 5 of the top 6 teams in the league (there are 44 teams in the league). Last season, we won one meet, so we had the “privilege” of staying in this super division for a second season.
So, after two seasons, our record is 1-11 even though we are a strong team and the year before we went undefeated.
Don’t get me wrong, winning isn’t everything to me. Yes, I’m competitive and love to win. However, our team definitely doesn’t emphasize winning so much that we miss all the life lessons and keys to success associated with sports like personal development, overcoming challenges, striving to do your best, good sportsmanship, and character development.
Still, getting shellacked week-in and week-out gets old. It wears me out, and I know some of our swimmers get tired of it.
Today, however, I was reminded in two ways of just how successful our team has been even though we didn’t win a meet this year…
First, I received several emails from parents and swimmers today expressing the keys to success they learned and experienced this year. One came from a swimmer who was able to bounce back from a poor performance in a particular event during the County Championship Meet (something that in the past would have devastated her and ruined the rest of her meet). She ended up swimming two of her best swims of the season after one of her most disappointing swims of the season. That’s a huge win for this individual both in swimming and in her personal life. What’s more, from her email, it’s obvious that she grasped the E+R=O concept, which is one of the keys to success I emphasis so much.
Secondly, since the 2012 Olympic Games are just around the corner, I was reminded of one of my favorite sports moments. Twenty years ago I watched one of the greatest pictures of success I have ever seen played out on the TV screen. Through this event, I was reminded that although quitters never win, losers can often succeed and, as a result, inspire others to never give up and perserve.
Stick-to-it-tiveness. Now that’s a key to success!
Question: What keys to success have you discovered through watching sports or through your involvement in a particular sport?