Thursday, June 11, 2009

Racquetball and Life: Success and Failure

I love to play racquetball.

And I can usually hold my own on the court. But Tuesday night was something to remember. A racquetball catastrophe. A train wreck, so to speak.

I was the number 1 seed in the league playoffs facing the number 4 seed in the semi-finals. It was an 8:30 PM game--and of course I get up about 5AM--so I'm fried anyway.

I warmed up and didn't seem to notice anything out of the ordinary--until my opponent (Kirk) served the first ball of the game. Yeah--5 points later I was able to break his serve and get my first serve. Seems my game was at home watching the Penguins in the Stanley Cup and not with me on the court. And to make it worse, Kirk brought his "A" game.

Suffice it to say, it was a mercifully short match with Kirk dominating and winning in two games. Kirk was excited--I don't think he had even won a game against me before, let alone a match. And we have played a lot. But he is really getting better and was in total control.

Life, is like that. Some days even the things we know how to do seem hard. Like getting out of bed.

No, really. We know we have the ability and have proven it on many occasions--but there are those days designed to keep us humble and to marvel at the skills that God has given us and let's us use for the benefit of others.

I like to sing. Sometimes, I can't even utter a sound--and that makes me remember how I used to sing and how I can sing and therefore makes me appreciate singing even more when I am actually creating music.

I have heard, and believe, the phrase that says we learn more from failure than from success. Failures provide an opportunity to improve. Unfortunately, I perseverate on failures because I really do want to improve. I tear the failure apart in my mind looking for places where I could have done things differently.

But I am better for them--even though they are hard to accept.

And that is the lesson of life as found in the sporting world--you can't win every game, but the measure of a winner is not in winning, but in getting back up after you have been knocked down. Likewise in life outside of sports--when things don't go your way, don't give up--try again.

Remember the Colonel Sander's experience:

When Colonel Sanders was 65 years old, he received his first social security check of US $99. He was broke. His only asset was a secret chicken recipe.

He left his home in Kentucky and traveled to the many states in the US to sell this recipe. He offered his secret chicken recipe to many restaurants for free.

All he wanted in return was a small percentage of the sales. However, he was shown the door by many restaurants.” Get out of here. Who wants a recipe from a white Santa Claus?” the restaurant owners shouted, referring to the dress code Sanders adopted: a white shirt and white trousers.Over 1,000 restaurants rejected his offer. How many of you would have quit after making one or two unsuccessful sales calls?

On his 1,009th sales visit, one restaurant finally accepted his offer.

Today, Kentucky Fried Chicken outlets and fatherly Colonel Sanders’ statures are found all over the world.

He has changed the way the world ate chicken- finger-lickin’ good

I do like a quote by Winston Churchill:

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.

So--I'll keep on playing racquetball, because I love it and it reminds me that every day is a new day and wrapped in every failure (or loss) is a chance to learn and grow. And then--I can apply the same enthusiasm to the rest of my life.

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