ON LOSING (75)

At one athletic meeting, our sports information director made repeated
notice that one of our coaches was approaching 200 wins. While I had 597
in my career, what struck me at the meeting was the “other side.”
I blurted out, “I’m getting near 200 losses.” They looked at me strangely.
My point: If I lost 200 matches, that’s about 1,000 times I’ve had to deal
with a singles player or doubles team who had lost. You’d better know how
to handle losing and your players who’ve lost.
There are much bigger losers than in athletic contests. If you deal, as I
did, with several thousand students, athletes, faculty, townspeople,
coaches and their families, there are inevitable tragedies. I lost one young
player. I mourn him daily.
Your players will turn to you when times are tough.
My first prayer at every season’s start is for safety in the van. No one
drove but me. I prayed that prayer every trip.

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