Another successful weekend for our baseball team. The boys fought hard all weekend, stuck to the mission and came through with some incredible victories.
In the end, they were declared Champions of their second tournament of the year by winning the Brantford Minor Baseball Association tournament.
Like their tournament win in June, the Tigers came from behind to win in the semis and championship game.
There is an adage that says you have to lose to learn how to win.
I never really understood what that meant. Aren't the best winners people who didn't need to lose?
I think in the development of a player or team in baseball this saying holds truer.
In the first couple of years of coaching this team, we had plenty of success in league play and pool play in tournaments.
As we approached the finals on Sunday, the team seemed to fall apart during 1 inning and the victory became insurmountable for them.
They indeed learned how to lose those games.
After a robust winter training program and the addition of some character even-keeled players, our team has taken those lessons of how to lose a game and taught themselves how to win.
Lessons like you only need 1 run at a time. Lessons like always resorting to the simplest form of baseball. Lessons like eating very minimal during the day and using plenty of chatter on the field to keep your energy up.
So after learning these lessons they become champions and got their trophy. But the truth is they already had it.
As they walk up to receive their symbols of victory, it is the snapping photos of elated Moms and Dads that truly symbolize the spirit of achievement and success.
All these boys want to do is make their parents happy. They want to show them what they can do. They want their mom to see them crush the ball into the gap.
They want their Dad to ogle over their diving catch.
They want their discipline and dedication to mean more than the plastic baseball man that will collect dust on their drawer. They want the shared memory of accomplishing a difficult feat playing the most difficult sport.
This trophy isn't just won by the player and the parents though. All members of the family share in these experiences. A whole gang of siblings roam the park like some characters in a Mark Twain novel.
They battle through the heat, the rain, the cold, the dirt, the hunger and the fatigue alongside the players. They know its special when they run the bases after the game and their brother's team is the last team off the field.
As coach, I do have special connections to each of the players and my body swells with pride when they individually contribute and collectively achieve.
But also as father of one of the players I understand the overwhelming emotional bond that competitive sports provides families.
Watching your own son cash in a winning run or watching your own wife shed a tear about it on the drive back home cannot be replaced by any physical trophy in the world.
Yes, winning makes everything so much nicer. Yes, we would have remarked that the boys played great even if they lost. All the while muttering under our breath about how disappointed we are.
But maybe that's when we can switch the adage on its head. Maybe once we learn how to win, we can learn how to lose.
We can see that the trophy doesn't really matter in the end. All that mattered was the shared experiences along the way.
If we heed this lesson, maybe we will all realize that we actually win a trophy each time we take the field.
We get to play a game that teaches you to shed your expectations. Anything can happen at anytime. Belief in yourself and never giving up can take you anywhere.
Class, respect and kindheartedness will always prevail and unselfishness always gives back.