By now I am sure you all know that LCC Radotin defeated the Boston Megamen (my team) in the finals to win the 20th annual AH Memorial tournament. My journey on a team to the finals gave me many interesting perspectives that I wasn’t fully prepared to understand at first. The trek was a proverbial roller coaster of emotions that left me feeling somewhat confused at its conclusion.
Preparing for anything worthwhile begins months, sometimes years in advance. Countless hours, sleepless nights, and all types of sacrifices lay in the wake of success of any kind. My preparation for this tournament was no different. But what defines success? What about those who make all the sacrifices and fall just short of victory? What feelings should I have when I look back on this year’s tournament?
After our victory in the semi finals over a tough Nova Scotia Privateers team, my teammates and I were all riding high. We recognized that in just a few hours we’d have the opportunity to play for the championship under the lights in front of an enthusiastic home crowd. I briefly reflected on the sacrifices I made to get where I was before I made my way into the locker room with the rest of my team. We were all laughing, smiling, and celebrating. We knew that we had only short time to enjoy the win before we would need to refocus for the final in just a few hours.
My elation was short-lived and quickly turned to sorrow when I looked down the hall towards the locker room occupied by the Privateers. I noticed one of their players (a friend of mine from previous tournaments) sitting alone outside the locker room with his gear still on. His head was down, shoulders slumped forward, and there was a tear in his eye. I immediately sympathized with him.
I walked over to him, put my arm around him and said “Keep your head up, you have a lot to proud of”; easier said than done. That generic, but sincere, statement was the best I could muster to try to comfort a great player, a dear friend, and an all around good guy. He looked up and me and nodded, then wished me luck in the finals.
After our loss in the finals, I was initially overwhelmed with feelings of anger and jealousy. I had not taken my own advice at all. I sat alone on the field with my gear still on, my head down, my shoulders slumped forward, and a tear in my eye. I felt no pride for my efforts, and thought that the entire time I spent preparing was all a waste.
I then looked over and saw my friend from the Privateers who I had spoken to earlier. He did not need to say a thing. I realized that I respected him, his efforts, and saw someone that should be proud of all they accomplished.
I perked right up.
I had a lot to be proud of and should keep my head up too. Despite the loss, this year’s tournament was a huge success. It brings people together, continues to inspire us to work hard, and helps us appreciate each other’s efforts. To me, THAT is success… plus there’s always next year!