2015 – Cut from the 7th grade basketball team.
2016 – Cut from the 8th grade basketball team.
2017 – Made the damn high school basketball team.
Our losses and successes we have in life are not because of fate or chance.
Our losses and successes are determined by our actions.
In 2015 my 12 year old son did not make the 7th grade basketball team. As heartbreaking as it was for him, it was harder for me. But I knew he needed this loss. I knew something great would come from this. I was convinced he had learned his lesson realized he had to work harder. Because that is how life works, right?
In 2016 I was proven dead wrong. He missed the 8th grade basketball team again. As heartbreaking as it was for him, it was even harder for me. And even harder than the previous year. But I knew he needed this loss. I know something great would come from it. But this time, it was me that had learned a lesson. This loss was on me. Actually, as a parent and as his teacher of life, both of those losses were on me.
Here is the conversation I had with my son the second time. It is a conversation I should have had with him in 2015.
“You have missed the cut two years now. The first year you blamed it on your coach. I don’t want to hear that this year. I wake up at 3:00 in the morning every day for my morning cardio. I’m at the gym everyday after work. And after dinner, I’m back on the damn treadmill. I do all of that because I want to win. You want to make the team next year as a freshman? Do the damn work!”
Life is not about losing and then winning. That would be too easy. And we know easy doesn’t get you shit in life. We can’t get through life by neglecting the hard work.
Life is about getting your heart ripped out when you least expect it, picking it up, sewing it back on and chasing down those sons of bitches that beat you.
You don’t just take your losses and expect miracles to happen. You take those losses and you work your ass off every single day until your heart is back in your chest or until the day that you die.
You need to let those losses consume you to a point where you are grateful for those losses. You need to let those losses become your magnificent obsession.
Those losses need to become your moments of greatness.
Last week, I dropped my son off for his try-outs. On the second day of try-outs he told me he was convinced he was going to make the team because he outworked everybody on the court.
The last day I dropped him off, he got out, turned to me and said “100 to 0.”
He let those losses become his magnificent obsession and for the first time ever, I saw my 14 year old son turn into a man consumed with purpose.
Two hours later he got in and quietly told me he made the basketball team.
After quite possibly the best father/son, post basketball try-outs, you have your whole life ahead of you, motivational speech ever, we rode home in silence the rest of the ride home.
Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside of us while we live.” Norman Cousins