Winning!

The school year is quickly entering its “busy” phase – don’t get me wrong – it’s always busy…but this time of year seems to be “hold-on-to-your-dentures-or-they’ll-fly-off-your-gums” busy. We just attended a major competition event. Homecoming is this Friday. We’re gearing up for another competition. I’m judging at yet another competition before that one. Report cards will be here before you know it. Then, it’s the Senior Trip to DC. SAT’s are the week we return. National Competition is the week after that. I’m preparing to speak at our Ladies’ Group the following week. Take a Breath. Field Trips and Finals. Report Cards, again. Meeting with Parents. Graduation. Get your Permanent Records done by Friday. Now it’s Summer….did we really just finish another year?!

But I love this time of year. I enjoy busy. I thrive on competition. Something inside me revels in late night preparations and last minute brush-ups. Stress and nerves make me feel alive. …and I hate losing. I mean, I really hate losing. Unfortunately, I’ve had a lot of practice at it. (We finished Fourth at the competition we just attended, and that mean little competitive drive that lives inside my gut whispered, “If Second Place is First Loser, what does that make Fourth Place?” …I said it was mean, right??)
But losing can be good. You need a loss every now and then to give you a kick in the pants and make you want to WIN! If all you ever do is win, you don’t become better…you become entitled. Losing makes you buckle down, dig in, and work yourself to exhaustion so that you can be the best. And I know from experience that winning is much more sweet when it took a loss to get you there.
So this weekend, I laid out the strategy for next year’s competition. Yeah, you heard me right: next year’s competition…as in, 363 days from today. Preparation and Determination – those are the earmarks of a winner – and I want my students to be winners. I want them to have a competitive spirit that will drive them through life – that won’t let them settle for second place, second best, second fiddle, second nothing. I want them to enjoy winning because they’ve earned it – not because they were entitled to it. If I can inspire them to succeed on their own merit – to claw their way up from loss and disappointment and stand proudly on the mountain they have conquered, then I will have taught them what winning really is. …and I’d really like to be able to say, “Ha! Take that!” to that mean little competitive drive in my gut…

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