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By Jesse Utz 

Winning and losing, smiles and tears

Jess Shut Up


Last updated 9/25/2013 at 11:35am

This last weekend I got to go to Airways Heights and watch my nephew Zack score two touchdowns running like Russel Wilson and throw another TD through the air. So proud. He looked calm, cool and collected as he performed like a superstar; not only on offense but on defense as well. It made me think of the fundamentals that we teach our kids at an early age. Not just the art of winning and doing it with style (no touchdown dances here,) just a flick of the football to the ref and high fives on the sidelines. But also the way we teach our kids to lose gracefully. I have been on the receiving end of some major butt whooping in the sports arena, so I know a thing or two about losing.

Of course, this starts at home and is compounded by adequate coaching. If we look at our Raider football team for example, we have had notorious seasons of losing. Going back to the Coach Bona days. But here recently our kids have pulled together some wins and are looking like a contender, or at least a team to be taken seriously. A young team, with lots of leaders, and good experience in losing and winning. Some might call this group of youngsters a band of misfits that have been gelled together with good coaching and above-average intelligence. Others might even say they are a group of unselfish players excelling as a team. They are looking good with back-to-back wins and hopefully adding one more this Friday at home at Greene Field. Keep winning with style, boys.

I can remember in high school when the local softball league was playing, a bunch of us decided to put together a team of all just us kids. The Shriners sponsored us and we were off. It was the most fun time a lot of us had playing softball. In the championship game in the season ending tournament, I dropped an easy fly ball and it cost us the game. It killed me mentally for a long time. But I rarely think of it now days, until I decided to write this. I’m sure Vince and Ryan wont forget it. They were the coaches for our team and took it just as hard as I did. But dropping that fly ball did not define me as a person, just like hitting a game-winning home run would not define me either. It was just part of the game, I lost focus for a second and that was that.

When our son lost the title match in wrestling this last year, it broke my and Karrie’s hearts. I had never cried at a loss before but I did this time. I just knew and was witness to all the hard work, dedication and heartache that our son had put into this season and career. The goal was nothing less than a championship. So when he got less than that, it hurt deeply. Now, if you know him at all, you know he still to this day does not want to talk about it. I’m sure as time passes the pain will lessen for him and he will be encouraged with his 2nd place at state and Academic State Championship.

So what exactly am I trying to say? Ok, all you athletes out there, hold your head high in wins and losses. Tomorrow is another chance. When you win, know that there is a loser on the other side that is hurting a bit and when you lose, don’t let it define you as an athlete or person. Learn from it, let it burn in your gut a bit and set you on fire to practice better, play better, and be a better person. The people in the stands are going to cheer for you either way. Win or lose, our hearts are out there with you.


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