The dying moments of any iconic sporting event can often be filled with a mixture of emotions because ultimately there can only be one winner. Speaking from experience, this feeling was perfectly captured amongst a sea of green and gold cheering on the Socceroos during the Asian Cup final in Sydney on January 31!
As humbling as it was to witness the whole nation’s support, my heart was racing as extra time was running out and a goal was needed to win the title. Worse case, I thought, would have to be sitting through a penalty shoot out. As we all know, the Socceroos secured an emphatic 2-1 win over South Korea and I felt incredibly grateful to have witnessed a special piece of Australian football history.
But, more importantly, the victory also made me realise how the game could have easily gone the other way. What if the Socceroos hadn’t won? What if it was one of Australia’s biggest sporting upsets? How would the players and fans have reacted to a loss?
SO… Next time you are on the edge of your seat through a nail-biting game, cheering on in the stands or at home watching it live with family and friends, have a think about how a loss can actually turn into some simple positives that we can apply to our everyday lives:
1) Lessons on humility
When a team suffers a shock loss or fails to win an important game, it’s a good reminder that even our favourite sporting heroes experience upsets and disappointments just like us. In turn, losses are important to teach us humility and to have a humbled heart.
Who would have thought that after several upsets, the Australian Test cricket team would come back and win 5-0 against England during the 2013/14 Ashes series? I must admit, I don’t think anyone would have predicted that result. It felt like a phenomenal summer of cricket and such a special feeling of winning on home soil.
Ultimately, patiently waiting for a win after a series of losses makes the feeling of success all the more meaningful for players and fans alike.
2) Graciously taking a loss
When I think of sports players who inspire me the most, I always admire those who show respect and great sportsmanship after a loss. It’s a beautiful reminder that how you treat others after an upset can often leave a very strong imprint on another person, which is why it is so important to remain gracious.
I often smile when I see players shake hands with their opponent or referee, sports stars that happily take the time to wave to the crowd to thank them for their support or players who exchange jerseys with the opposing side.
It’s those little gems during a game that demonstrate great courage and always make the biggest difference.
3) Working hard towards the next win
When a coach has to address a team after a loss in the change rooms, I can only imagine how difficult it must be for the players to immediately see a positive behind the result.
As all Western Sydney Wanderers supporters would know, we’ve had to cheer on week in and week out this past season sitting humbly at the bottom of the A-League ladder.
In most cases, we often try to analyse and think ‘what if’ after a game, but over time we realise that the experience can motivate players to refocus their goals and to strive towards the next win. The taste of victory for a team may come much later on however the rewards are all the more fruitful after much dedication and hard work.
SO… whether you have witnessed the heartache of a grand final loss, walked away from the stands disappointed in a team’s performance or tirelessly supported your team through a win-less season, no matter what the outcome may be, ultimately there is always beauty behind a loss.