Staying Composed After a Tough Loss
Are you a good “sport?”
Do you show respect to others and the facility even after a heartbreaking loss?
Does the result of a game negatively influence your character?
The Japanese endured a painful loss this week in Round 16 of the World Cup.
They took a 2-0 lead in the second half, but devastatingly fell 3-2 to Belgium.
What’s most memorable from that game though is not the Belgium comeback, rather the class shown by the Japanese team and fans.
Imagine how you would feel after losing a big game in a huge tournament. Maybe angry, frustrated, upset; not composed.
Have you been in a locker room with teammates before who have thrown equipment, lashed out, and left stuff all over the place after a tough loss?
The Japanese could have easily been feeling and acting the same.
However, they cleaned their locker room and left it spotless. They even left a note that said, “Thank you,” in Russian.
In addition to the Japanese locker room being flawless, their fans gathered the trash in the stands and made sure to leave that area just as clean.
This is similar to the All Blacks legacy…
The All Blacks are a New Zealand rugby team, and one of the most, if not the most winningest sports teams in all of history.
Their motto: “Leave the jersey in a better place.”
The All Blacks also have a couple other longstanding traditions, including, “Champions do extra,” and, “Sweep the sheds.”
Champions do extra simply means you find incremental ways to do more, whether it’s in the gym, on the field, in the locker room, or for the team.
This philosophy fosters continual improvement and growth.
Sweeping the sheds, probably my favorite mantra, indicates the All Blacks stopping and cleaning up after a game before leaving the locker room.
They literally sweep the sheds as an example of personal humility.
Much like the All Blacks, the Japanese soccer team did more, swept the sheds, and left the jersey in a better place. The highest demonstration of respect and class.
Better athletes don’t make better people. But better people always make better athletes.
The Japanese soccer team recognize the significance in this statement.
You win, you lose; the outcomes can often be forgotten. Although, your sportsmanship and respect for the game follow you.
The Japanese lost an upsetting game to Belgium late in the World Cup.
However, their ability to maintain composure, separate the game from their character, and departing grace is what will be remembered.
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