The real victory: Learning from defeat
The Journal and our sister publication, Bennington Banner, launched a gala to merit student athletes and their coaches Tuesday night in Bennington. To our relief and joy, a house full of friends and family has grown up in Greenwall auditorium of Bennington University for the occasion.
The Northshire was well represented, with guest tables and podium, while student athletes Arlington, Long Trail, Stratton Mountain and Burr and Burton were prominent.
And we were honored by the presence and generous spirit of three-time Olympic gold medal winner Gabby Douglas, who was exceptionally friendly and giving his time and attention. We hope that the stories of perseverance and effort needed to reach the top of the podium at the highest level of your sport resonate with student athletes present in the future.
It was truly a gratifying and satisfying experience, and we look forward to returning next year.
Why the fuss? High school sports, when kept in a healthy perspective in the context of education, teach several important lessons. The value of teamwork comes to mind. Likewise, leadership, shared sacrifice, time management and commitment to goals shared with your teammates.
But there is another lesson that high school athletes learn, and it has nothing to do with the glory of winning championships. In fact, it is their fault.
In sports, an individual or team moves with a championship trophy – and this is not always the “best team”. Even if you’ve had a perfect season, the opposition could have a perfect game in the game title and walk with victory for those who have worked so hard.
Sometimes life is like this.
The way we handle difficult times and failure – and, specifically, what we learn – is often more important than what we learn to win. And sports are a valuable way of learning the most important lessons of life often come from the victim of adversity.
The New York Times recently reported that Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, is a new program for students who try to “fail to thrive.”
“What we are trying to teach is that failure is not a learning error, it is the characteristic,” said Rachel Simmons, a specialist in leadership development in the strict rigor of the women’s college. “For many of our students – who had to be almost perfect to be accepted into a school like Smith – failure can be an unknown experience. So when this happens, it can be crippling ..”
All price winners who honored Tuesday night overcame a kind of challenge or adversity in their young lives, or they found a friend or family member facing a challenge that has affected their lives. And they found a way to overcome it and become themselves the best.
They continue their sports careers in college, our hommageurs Tuesday night and their teammates have learned valuable lessons from this experience. We thank you for celebrating with us and we wish you continued success.