When I was 13 years old, I played CYO basketball for my local church team.
It was a great season my team and I enjoyed. We all learned how to play together as a
cohesive unit and developed a strong work ethic out on the court. It was the census that
we could all attribute this to the man who coached us, Coach Vigus.
Coach Vigus taught us many things through basketball that season but the lesson
I still value the most from him was about the fear of losing.
When I first stepped onto the court for my first CYO game I was incredibly
nervous. I could not play to my strengths because I was playing to hide my weaknesses as
a player. That first game did not go as I had imagined in my head. I specifically
remember one play in which I picked up my dribble and was looking to pass. The
defender immediately swarmed me and in panic I threw a sloppy pass that got picked off
in mid air which quickly turned into two points for the other team. After that play I
looked over at my coach standing at the bench, all the while thinking “why isn’t he
subbing me out?”. Instead he yelled at me to keep going and push the pace.
After the game, Coach Vigus sat me down and told me I had played well.
Honestly I had no clue what he was talking about and I guess he could see it on the
expression of my face. He then asked me what was holding me back during the game.
I told him that I was nervous and did not want to screw anything up for the team. What
came afterwards would be the theme to the rest of my season.
Coach explained to me that I was letting the fear of losing control the way
I played the game. He said “failure is part of the process of success and people who
avoid failure also often avoid success”. He assured me that any mistakes I made
during the game was ok as long as I got back up from them. He ended our conversation
with me making a promise to myself. I promised that I wouldn’t be afraid to lose.
From then on, the rest of the season was a blur. We won game after game only
losing once. Every game I played worry-free and let my passion for the game, instead of
fear, control how I played.
Soon the season ended and I found myself reflecting on it. In doing so, I
thought about the promise I made to myself. Upon further reflection I came to an
epiphany; That promise didn’t just apply to basketball but to life itself. Upon that
realization, I have since noticed that I have never met anyone who had fallen in love who
had never had their heart broken. I have never met anyone who bowled who had never
thrown the ball into the gutter. And I certainly have never met, let alone heard of anyone,
who has won at anything and never lost.
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