Failure is a painful albeit necessary lesson we must all learn.
I didn’t finish first before finishing last; you didn’t win before you lost; and they couldn’t go before they were stopped.
The recent flurry of suspensions and dismissals throughout the Pac-12 accents the lessons sports are meant to teach us: discipline, teamwork, accountability, hard work. They provide an arena for coaches to teach, players to learn, and everyone to grow. In few other forums is success, failure and the connectivity of the two so clearly defined.
Therefore, in the pursuit of any great goal – from sales to championships – recognizing set-backs and failure is imperative. It’s a difficult pill to swallow but an inevitable one; one that some don’t have to swallow as often as others.
When you’ve grown up as “the man,” he who could just roll the ball out, lace ‘em up and walk out with a W, what do you have to learn from failure? You’ve never failed, why should you now? Basic tenants of teamwork, like attitude, attendance, and punctuality, are compromised for talent and skills, creating no space for greater learning.
So when that first shot doesn’t fall; when the minutes dwindle and the stats shrink; when practice is followed by lifting not leisure; how does one react?
If you follow the lead of a growing number of Pac-12 players, you act out. You miss practices and buses, ignore rules and coaches, and find your way into a suspension or off the team. You might even leave, providing little-to-no reason for your departure.
But if you want to be great, if you want to be better, grow and learn, you’ll stay. You’ll play by the rules, address failure, and improve. You’ll work. You’ll rely on others and you’ll trust them because your best is their best.
So maybe Dick Vitale is right. Maybe it is time to look in the mirror and see what’s really going on. What direction do you want this to go; how good do you want to be? Or better yet, why are you here?
Failure is not a diagnosis or apocalyptic. It’s a painful opportunity.
If you can’t embrace that, then best of luck to you. You’re going to need it.
And if you don’t want to hear it from me, this guy has something to say about it: