Learning to Lose

team, sports, losing, sportsmanship, attitude

Gabrielle is a 15-year-old sophomore, that homeschools and loves it. She loves writing, and spends most of her spare time reading, writing stories, or writing poetry.


I like playing tennis. I’m not that good, but it’s fun, and I like the exercise. That’s why, when the chance came, I signed up for my first tournament.

On the first day that I was playing, my brother’s friend came along. After I’d lost my second match, I told him the sad results. He said, ‘You didn’t lose, you learned.’ Of course, I thought this was the stupidest thing in the world for him to say to me. He wasn’t feeling bad for me, like I wanted him to.

After I had lost my third match, I decided to actually think about what he’d said. I wondered, if he was right, why wasn’t I getting any better? I hated that he was making me think so hard, when I was supposed to be concentrating on my next match. But he was right, of course. I just wasn’t willing to learn, because I was too bitter about losing my matches.

For my next match, I decided to put what I had learned to use. I got a tie. What I learned, mostly, from my experience is that if I try to learn, I can put that information to good use. Even (and especially) when I lose, what I learn can make me better, and I can be sure not to make the same mistakes I made before.

Losing is learning to be better, and that’s the best piece of advice I’ve ever gotten, because I’ve been able to put that into use pretty much everyday of my life. When something bad happens to me, I just want to lock myself in my room, and stay there forever. Or at least until dinnertime. But this advice reminds me that I can learn from the hard things that happen, and I can make myself stronger for the next situation that comes up. It reminds me that life is going to be hard, but if I’m willing to learn from those hardships, next time it won’t be so hard.

At the end of the match, we had to play a tiebreaker, and I lost. But that was one of the best losses I’ve ever had, because I had learned so much, not only from the match, but in the course of the entire day, and I had finally realized it. And when I shook my opponent’s hand, I was smiling bigger than her. Losing is learning, and I finally understood that.


Photo: scottnj from Flickr

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