Sunday, February 23, 2020

Winners and Losers

This past Friday, I had to supervise a basketball game. It was the fourth time this season the two teams played against each other. One team had a solid upper-classman roster, while the other had a nice mix of young and veteran players. Two of the previous three contests were within two or three points at the final buzzer.

This fourth game could have gone either way. The first two quarters were dominated by one team, but the other hung in there. The final two quarters were nip and tuck and I recall telling a colleague that whoever has the ball at the end of the game would win. I pretty much called it, because that’s how it ended.

The two teams shook hands at the end of the game. The kids had played against each other for several years and knew one another. One team experienced joy and elation. The other tears and sadness. For the seniors who lost the game, it would possibly mark the final time they might wear a basketball jersey. For the seniors who won the game, they march on to the next game knowing that it only gets tougher as they go.

Winners and Losers

The way the kids handled themselves, and the way the coaches handled the teams, it’s difficult to determine who the winners or losers were, even though the final score on the board indicated such. There was dignity. There was respect. There was a marked determination. Some players, not the “stars” stood out and up to the challenge. Each gave everything they had and then some.

Such is the game. Such is life, I suppose.

There will always be a better team, a newer car, a better show to watch or a book to read. There will always be someone smarter, prettier, wealthier. That is the way of it. That is life.

It isn’t that life is fair or unfair. Life just . . . is. We do our best. Each day. Each minute and hour of the day. That’s all we can do. That’s all we should do.

All of us, each of us, will be winners one time, maybe more. And all of us, each of us, will lose one time, maybe more.

Henry Ford is known to have said something like, “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”

Yet, I don’t believe the team that lost failed. They just happened to be bettered this time around. After all, how can one fail if one gives everything he or she had, worked as hard as possible, and utilized every available opportunity afforded to them? That isn’t failure.

Losses and failures end up being lessons if you look at them through the correct lens. Anything in life poses a question, a lesson to be learned. Sometimes the work of the lesson is painful. Sometimes the work of the lesson is a joy because passion is involved.

I wrote a post on Rejection (11-15-19) and I mentioned how many times Stephen King “failed” before his first book ‘Carrie’ became a huge success. I wrote that I had been rejected so many times the notices could wallpaper a room in my house.

You see, if the team that lost just quits, they hadn’t learned their lesson. If Stephen King quit writing after his rejections, we would never have experienced ‘The Stand’. If I had quit after my many rejections, my seventh book, ‘Betrayed’ wouldn’t be published this coming November.

In life, there are no real losers, just as there aren’t any real winners. Or . . .

Perhaps the winner is the one who keeps moving forward despite the critics, despite the odds. Perhaps the winner is the one who learns from the missteps of others as well as one’s own. Perhaps the winner is the one who picks himself up, dusts him or her self off and says, “Okay, one more time.” To me, that is who the real winner is. Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

To My Readers:
My new book, Betrayed, will debut Nov. 12, 2020! It is a contemporary psychological thriller using some of the same characters from my previous work. It takes place on the Navajo Nation Reservation in northeast Arizona.

Connect with me on Social Media:
Twitter at @jrlewisauthor

Spiral Into Darkness:
Named a Recommended Read in the Author Shout Reader Awards!
He blends in. He is successful, intelligent and methodical. He has a list and has murdered eight on it so far. There is no discernible pattern. There are no clues. There are no leads. The only thing the FBI and local police have to go on is the method of death: two bullets to the face- gruesome and meant to send a message. But it’s difficult to understand any message coming from a dark and damaged mind. Two adopted boys, struggling in their own world, have no idea they are the next targets. Neither does their family. And neither does local law enforcement.

Caught in a Web:
A PenCraft Literary Award Winner!
The bodies of high school and middle school kids are found dead from an overdose of heroin and fentanyl. The drug trade along the I-94 and I-43 corridors and the Milwaukee Metro area is controlled by MS-13, a violent gang originating from El Salvador. Ricardo Fuentes is sent from Chicago to Waukesha to find out who is cutting in on their business, shut it down and teach them a lesson. But he has an ulterior motive: find and kill a fifteen-year-old boy, George Tokay, who had killed his cousin the previous summer.

Detectives Jamie Graff, Pat O’Connor and Paul Eiselmann race to find the source of the drugs, shut down the ring, and find Fuentes before he kills anyone else, especially George or members of his family. The three detectives discover the ring has its roots in a high school among the students and staff.

Book One of the Lives Trilogy, Stolen Lives:
Two thirteen-year-old boys are abducted off a safe suburban street. Kelliher and his team of FBI agents have 24 hours to find them or they’ll end up like all the others- dead! They have no leads, no clues, and nothing to go on. And the possibility exists that one of his team members might be involved.
Book Two of the Lives Trilogy, Shattered Lives:
Six men escaped and are out for revenge. The boys, recently freed from captivity, are in danger and so are their families, but they don’t know it. The FBI has no clues, no leads, and nothing to go on and because of that, cannot protect them.
Book Three of the Lives Trilogy, Splintered Lives:
A 14-year-old boy knows the end is coming. What he doesn’t know is when, where or by whom. Without that knowledge, neither he nor the FBI can protect him or his family.                                  

The Lives Trilogy Prequel, Taking Lives:
FBI Agent Pete Kelliher and his partner search for the clues behind the bodies of six boys left in various and remote parts of the country. Even though they don’t know one another, the lives of FBI Kelliher, 11-year-old Brett McGovern, and 11-year-old George Tokay are separate pieces of a puzzle. The two boys become interwoven with the same thread that Pete Kelliher holds in his hand. The three of them are on a collision course and when that happens, their lives are in jeopardy as each search for a way out.

Photo courtesy of Marcus Spiske and Unsplash

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Thank you for your comment. I welcome your thought. Joe