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Published on October 19th, 2011 | by Frosty Peaches

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A Different Way To Think About Losing

A few weekends ago, my home team played in our league championship game. We were not victorious.

I come from a background of music – I enjoy collaboration and creative people coming together to play something together – many pieces making up a whole experience. Music is rarely a competition. I don’t come from a sports background where there is a winner and a loser at the end of the night.

I like to say that I am not competitive, but the truth is I am ultra competitive. In fact, I find losing something that I care about to be so painful I would rather not care at all. So I enjoy practicing more than I enjoy games, because the only thing on the line there is the improvement and growth of my personal skills.

But on Sunday morning – after the events of the night before had started to fade into the past – I woke up and cried. The pain of losing something I really cared about was so intense. In fact, I wept all day on Sunday and I was surprised at how much I felt about this game.

I am fortunate that my parents are awesome and that I get along well with them. They are both in professions dealing with mental health, and my dad is a doctor of clinical psychology. I met with my dad and step-mom for coffee later on Sunday evening, and talked about my experience that day – that I was actually really depressed about the loss.

My dad, who is brilliant and sought-after in his profession, said to me quite plainly, “Lara, you are thinking about this wrong”.

My dad isn’t able to come to all of my games, but he sat there proudly the night before and watched as the 2200 people in the audience roared with excitement jam after jam. He watched after the game was over as people came up and asked to pose for pictures with me, and kids come over and ask me to sign their program. He watched as unfamiliar people from the very young to very old come over and talk to me about how amazing the event was.

My dad said “You know Lara, some people have hard lives or a very deep sadness, but on a Saturday night, they are able to come out and for a few hours they can forget their problems and cheer for roller derby”.

“You, and everyone in the sport, are building a house in heaven for yourself with all of the joy that you bring to people in the community. Stop thinking about how many points you failed to score, and remember that you are changing people’s lives for the better.”

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t cry again – one last time that day – but this time it wasn’t about losing the game, it was about the blessings that I have received because I am a part of the roller derby community. I’d also be lying if I said there won’t be games that hurt to lose in the future, but I hope I remember these words from my father when it does happen and that any tears I cry are brief and full of thanks.

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