Disappointment is tough, but watching your kids be disappointed is really tough. And while some of the disappointments of childhood may seem trivial in the big scheme of things, at this moment they are huge.
Alex's team was runner-up in the state tournament again this year. All the pep talks in the world will not wipe away pain of losing and telling him he did his best when it still wasn't enough doesn't seem to help. So all week I have been giving a lot of thought to this quote, "The taste of defeat has a richness of experience all its own." (Bill Bradley, former NBA basketball player and US Senator) I keep thinking I will have some awe-inspiring moment when just the right words come out of my mouth and my child realizes the richness of this experience, but it's just not happening. It is not fun to be runner up, it feels much better to win.
In my brief quiet time yesterday, I was reading in Romans chapter 5 about suffering. Now I know that losing a baseball game may not sound like suffering to most folks, but at our house, it was a big deal so bear with me while I try and make my point. Paul said, "We rejoice in our sufferings (in our case, disappointments), because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us." If you continue reading, you see that hope does not disappoint us because God loves and gave His only son for us - it's all about redemption.
So what does that have to do with being runner up again? Alex will work harder to do his part to win the next one (perseverance), he loves baseball and continues to practice and get better. And the hope is that by learning to persevere even when it's hard and disappointing, he will grow into a young person whose character out shines his wins and losses on the ball field. Winning humbly and losing graciously are just part of the game.
Now for the really good news - even though the team did not win first place in the state tournament, they have been invited to play in the Southeast Regional Tournament next week - a chance to persevere!