Merry Christmas and Then Some

December 17, 2010

clj2011The longer I get to be at Camp, the more often I appreciate what happens on our stretch of the river. It’s probably not the time to write a summer observation entry, but I’ve been thinking…

The other weekend I had a chance to go to the NCAA Division III national soccer finals in San Antonio. I love a well played game, and this didn’t disappoint. Messiah College was the two time defending nation champion and played as such that day. However, Lynchburg College, their competition was up to the challenge and spent most of the game in control. In fact Lynchburg took a 1-0 lead early in the second half. Sports fans know that just makes the game that much more exciting. Messiah, true to championship form, scored the tying goal with less than four minutes left, on what some (Lynchburg Fans) would call a questionable play. Lynchburg had dominated nearly the whole game, and now we were headed to 20 minutes of sudden victory overtime.

Sudden victory started much as the rest of the game, with Lynchburg pressuring to score. In the second minute of overtime, Messiah had a break away and scored the winning goal! Fast and furious. Totally unexpected after the previous 90 minutes. Messiah celebrated. Lynchburg was shocked, deflated and even some tears.

Two days later as fate would have it, my son Josh had high school soccer game in San Marcos. It was pretty even, well played, tied at one after regulation and headed to 20 minutes of sudden victory overtime. After 19 minutes of overtime, San Marcos scored on a diving header into the corner. A true Sportscenter moment. Our guys were stunned, a bit deflated but as much at the shot as they were at the loss. What a difference playing for a national title makes….but should it?

Isn’t that a microcosm of one of the challenges our kids deal with so much as they grow up. At the finals, both teams were in the top two in the nation. Both had climbed to the top with hard work and months of success. It’s a shame that one had to feel like a “loser”. Who ever said their could only be one winner? Thousands of other players didn’t even make it to the playoffs. On the scoreboard, only one winner, but in life wouldn’t it be great if more kids were able to walk off the field feeling like they didn’t win but they’d done their best, were proud and ready for the next challenge. We still only have one winner, but maybe we don’t have to have so many losers.

That’s always been one of our goals at Camp. By design, we set numerous goals and challenges for our boys. From Indian Lore to Riflery. From Black Eagles to Rough Rider. From Ranch Games to the Ranch Term. We know that life, like a soccer tournament, is full of more defeats that it is victories. But hopefully we get our perspective across to our guys, that striving for success and reach for excellence are as important to the future as getting all of those victories. Everyone who improves is a winner, not just the one at the top of the scoreboard. Better grades, better health, better friendships and better skills are all byproducts of goal setting and defeat.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. Have a blessed season. Enjoy the house full of mayhem!

Blake

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