What do you do when you lose?

Our family traveled down to Ocean City over past weekend. Maddy's soccer team was competing in the River Soccer Club Columbus Day Classic tournament and it seemed like a great excuse to take the family to the beach for the weekend. We figured that we would watch (and one of us would play) a little soccer, and then spend a couple of hours at the beach each day. 

Maddy and her team played two games on Saturday, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. They played great in both games! They controlled play and truly were the superior team in both games. They scored a total of 10 goals and only gave up 2! To top off the amazing day Maddy scored her first goal! (There might be a little video of that goal being scored below...)

All that stood between our girls and a berth in the Championship Game was one more game. Our girls came in confident after playing so well the day before. The game started EARLY on Sunday morning. The other team was a great match for our girls. Unfortunately, after a couple of bounces that didn't go our way, the other team came out on top. Our girls were all very disappointed and upset at the missed opportunity. Each of them responded differently. Some just shut down, some were near tears, and some were just shocked.

Seeing their reactions brought me back. It reminded me of a highly impactful moment in my life. I need to start out by admitting something. When I was around Maddy's age, I was a TERRIBLE loser. I was not able to cope with losing in any scenario. It was so bad when I was young that my Grandmother would let me win at everything! I'm talking about letting me win a game of wiffleball, or a game of Rummy, or any other possible competition. I don't think that she realized that letting me win was not helping me...

All of that changed. I will never forget the day it changed. Ironically, it was a similar situation to the one that Maddy's team found themselves in this past weekend. My club soccer team was playing against a team that we were more talented than. By all rights, we should have won that game handily. Unfortunately, it was not our day and we did not pull out the win.

After the loss, we were all disappointed and sitting as a group in silence. Our coach walked up to us and sat down with us. We were all fully expecting a lecture about how terribly we had played in that game. Instead, he simply said "Boys. Every time we play a game, we either win or we learn. I want you to think about what you learned today." After dropping that profound statement on a bunch of pre-teen boys, he got up and walked away. That moment. That sentence changed how I viewed losing from that day forward.

Remembering that day, as we walked to the car after the tough loss, I said to Maddy "I love to watch you play." Then casually asked her... "Did you learn anything out there today?"


Movement is my medicine,

Dr. William "Chip" Bleam

Dr. William "Chip" Bleam


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