How to Win All the Time - The Crucible Project
After 108 years of dedication, the Chicago Cubs and their fans have earned the title, “World Champions!”
From these lovable Cubs, we can learn those classic lessons about never giving up, holding high expectations, ignoring doubters, sticking to the game plan, staying in the zone, and believing all things are possible.
And at the same time, I believe that the Cleveland Indians may have received a greater prize. Because it is in loss that we find out who we really are.
Jesus revealed, “He who loses his life shall find it.”
How much deeper the Indians must now dig for their identity. Will they see that much of the initial rewards of victory are external and arbitrary — money, glory, trophies and cheering? But, blessed are those who walk by faith and not by sight.
Are we okay even though we lost? Are we okay without the external accolades? Can we still be happy? Do we still have what it takes? Are we still worthy?
It’s possible some Indians players will have to reframe this loss for the rest of their lives. Will they get stuck replaying “what if” I had that one last strikeout or error? Will they see themselves as 2nd place losers?
Or … will they see that they were one of the greatest teams in all baseball history? Will they see that they came back to force one of the greatest teams in history into overtime? They called the best out of the Cubs and themselves. The sparring partner doesn’t get the title, but maybe they should.
Better still, will the Indians see that – despite the loss — they still have loyal fans, friends? Those who stick together in times of grief and struggle bond closer than brothers and experience a gift worth more than any riches. I experience this bond with my Crucible brothers.
When I was a freshmen wrestler, I won all my matches within the first round. I got used to the congratulations, pats on the back, and the sense of value from being called a “winner,” but I became malnourished from a diet of easy wins.
Sophomore year, I started losing. I cried hard after my losses. I began to fear hard work and failure. I didn’t know how to grapple with loss, let alone how to recover and reengage after loss.
What if I saw myself as the sophomore who was beating seniors at the varsity level? What if I saw an opportunity to improve and win state? Some of my teammates even went on to the Olympic trials.
Better still … what if I saw my identity wasn’t tied up with my performance at all? What if playing was just that — playing and wrestling for fun?
I suggest to you that Cubs fans gained more from the 108 years of being “lovable losers” than from winning Game 7. Game 7 merely revealed everything about our identity that we had been refining for over a century.
Recently, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton finished the Presidential election well. In their speeches following Trump’s surprise victory, both of them called for healing and unity. Trump warned “The work is just beginning.” Though he may have been referring to political bridge building that needs to happen, there is also soul work to be done in our country.
For her part, Clinton led the way saying, “We owe him an open mind.” Even in defeat, I found her gracious. A strong leader, encouraging unity.
Once the cheering dies down, both winners and losers must grapple with their own identity and determine if they still “have what it takes,” “if they are still worthy,” and if they still “belong.”
You see, our losses refine us before our victories reveal us. May you stay true to yourself in victory and find yourself in losses.
- In what area of life do you struggle with losing?
- In what area of life do you lose well?
- What keeps you from feeling the love of God and others when you lose?
- What keeps you addicted to winning?
- How might you have to redefine winning and losing?
- How has losing helped to refine you?
The journey continues.
By Marc Mantasoot
Marc completed his initial Crucible weekend in 2004 and graduated from our two-year transformational program in 2008. He wants to help others pursue their God-given joy and free the world of ego. He is an award-winning poet, writer, small groups/discipleship coach, high school English teacher and martial arts trainer. He provides powerful methods for life transformation at marcmantasoot.com. His greatest joys: Creating scenes with his son, lining up My Little Ponies with his baby girl, and pursuing his irresistible wife.
Photo credit: Newsday