As a kid I was a sore loser. A VERY sore loser. I had a competitive streak that has only been tempered by age and the loss of explosiveness. Nothing reveals the character of a man as good as when things go bad.
I’ve watched really good men off the field turn into strange people who do reprehensible things on the field. It is a very honorable, exemplary man who can swallow his pride, humble himself and congratulate a worthy foe for a well fought, clean fight.
Today, my 15 and 16-year-old rugby team played a very experienced opponent. I make no excuses for our loss because it would take away from their victory. Highland played a disciplined, crisp and physical game that punished us and eventually put us in an unsurmountable hole.
I’m proud of my team. They were bloodied and beaten at the end of the match, but they fought hard and played until the referee blew the final whistle. It was a hard pill for our boys to swallow after we experienced such great success last weekend. But losing today lit a fire in our boys and they are eager to prove that they belong in the same league with the best.
They may have lost today on the pitch, but they lost as champions. With grace and with determination. That is exactly what they will need in life.