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What is Victory?

Playing on a top lacrosse team is something that I have always taken a lot of personal pride in. Whether you love lacrosse or you hardly even know what the game entails, it is a universal phenomenon when people come together for the accomplishment of a single goal. The teamwork and dedication that goes into finding success in that environment is something that fosters a lot of relationships that will last far beyond the season or even any individual player’s career. I am grateful for all of these things. This is something that has probably taught me more about life than virtually anything else I’ve ever done. It has taught me how to work hard and develop a work ethic that is nothing short of impeccable. It has taught me how to win gracefully as opposed to throwing my victory in someone else’s face. The most recent thing it has taught me is how to remain a winner even the face of a devastating loss.

I am accustomed to playing on a team that is quite successful. We work extremely hard and we expect to go out and win every game that we play. It is a fundamental part of our mindset and it affects everything we do from the way that we train to the level of dedication that every member of the team has. Because we do win so often, I have learned not to gloat or push other people who are on the losing team, but rather to congratulate them on a job well done and move ahead gracefully. Heading into the last game of the season, I and everyone else on the team fully expected to win just as we have been doing all season long.

Unfortunately, that is not the way things worked out. We played a close game against an exceptionally good team. I think it is fair to say that every single one of us expected that we would win right up until the last score. Because the game was so close, it was a devastating loss and it was definitely hard to hold our heads up and smile in the face of that loss. However, our coach used it as a teachable moment in order to help us learn what we should do when faced with adversity. He showed us how we should act and taught us that we should continue to be proud of the work that we have put in even if we did not have the result that we wanted.

In the end, I think I personally learned more about winning from dealing with an experience that forced me to lose. It is easy to be happy and even gracious when you win all the time. It is much more difficult to have that same level of graciousness when you’ve just lost something that was very important to you. It requires a lot of character to stay positive when you feel like your dreams have just been taken away from you. Being forced to deal with that has helped me understand what I am truly made of and I found out that I have more character than I ever thought I could have. When I look back on things, I don’t think that I would change the outcome of that game because I and my teammates were able to learn so much from that experience. I know that it taught me a lot about who I want to be and I think it has done the same for them as well.

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