Learning from the morning after

You miss the game-winning shot. The final pin staggers but remains up like an English Guardsman.

The lasso dangles around every inch of a cow’s head, but gradually slides down to the dirt.

The pigskin slips from your outstretched hands.

The game-tying home run drops shy of the bleachers by a cockroach.

You hit a backhand down the line, only to have the tradewinds blow it out on championship point.

Your putt to win the Kauai United Way Golf Tournament falls a mosquito wing short.

You’re about to tap out your greatest foe, but your hands slip and he turns the tables on you.

It’s hard to win, but it’s even harsher on your tender heart when you fall short by one grain of malasada sugar.

But it’s not really a bad sign when you taste defeat. Just turn it into a positive.

And that’s easier said than done.

If you’re a coach, this is probably your hardest job, especially at the youth level.

Trying to get youths to understand the value of a defeat is nearly impossible.

Why?

Well, when I was a youth sports participant, I only cared about winning.

As I grew older, however, I began to realize the importance of losing. Yeah that’s right, the importance of losing.

It truly is important, because it teaches you about character. Some of the best athletes in the world have lost.

But it’s the fact they rise after a defeat with flying colors that separates them from the rest of the field.

Just like the next day’s soreness after wakeboarding or snowboarding, the morning after suffering a loss at an athletic event stings like the bumpy Polihale roads.

But when you reach the heavenly sands of Polihale, you forget all about the dizzy adventure.

So too is the feeling when you learn from a tough defeat.

I’ve seen many individuals go down like blackouts when it comes to losing.

The first thing that comes to mind is what they could’ve done to prevent the setback.

For one, keep it simple. Don’t think about the should’ve, could’ve or would’ve, because what happened happened for a reason.

Besides, once you think about all the other bigger issues in your life, you’ll forget about it like a bad hangover.

As one gets older, the lessons of defeat get better.

When you’re younger, it’s hard to find any positives from losses, but that’s why we all have parents.

They’ve been in our slippers before, and they almost always know the outcome of what we’re about to go through.

A coach once told me he would rather take a tough loss than a blowout victory.

At first, it seemed odd he’d go that far to get me to learn from a defeat.

After thinking it through, though, it began to make more sense.

From my own experiences, whether on the playing surface or in other avenues in life, the sour taste of a setback can be turned into one of Tahina’s Tasty Treats (perhaps a bubble drink).

So the next time you lose at something, or off the field, remember to give yourself some time to evaluate the situation, especially during the morning after.

• Duane Shimogawa Jr., sports editor, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 257) or kauaisports@kauaipubco.com.

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