By Anthony Rhoads
Winners and losers. Every game has them. In every game, someone has to win; someone has to lose.
If you step onto the field of play, you have to play to win but you also have to be prepared to handle losing.
How do you handle losing?
Do you curse, whine and complain about officiating, point your fingers at your teammates or coaches, accuse the other team of cheating, threaten to beat up the officials or cry like an immature baby who loses his bottle? No.
If you lose, you have to be a man about it.
You choke it down, congratulate the winner and act gracious about it. That doesn't mean you have to like losing. No one wants to lose but guess what, losing is a part of life and you have to deal with it.
If you lose, you look at what you did wrong and try to correct it. That doesn't mean you dwell on the past but you look back at it and try to learn from it. Life is full of setbacks and defeats. Mistakes are going to happen in life; the key is how you react to them and what you do to correct them.
You also have to remember that losing on the field of play does not make you a loser in life.
The scoreboard is there for a reason but it doesn't tell the whole story. The scoreboard doesn't always show the results of hard work, heart, determination, class and a positive attitude. Anyone who displays those qualities isn't a loser, regardless of what the scoreboard says.
If you can apply what you have learned on the football field and use it to succeed later in life, you are not a loser.
You also have to remember that what you are doing on the football field is something that a lot of people wish they could do.
There are a lot of people out there who are disabled and who only dream of playing football. They would do give just about anything just to even walk, much less play football. There are folks who might have heart problems or other illnesses that prevent them from playing football. If you're drowning yourself in self-pity just because you lost a game, get over it. There are lots of people out there who have to deal with problems that are a lot more important and more daunting than losing a football game.
Playing football is not a right, it's a privilege just to be out there competing, whether you win or lose.
If you compete to the best of your ability, play fairly and display sportsmanship, you are a winner. You may not win every game you play but you will walk away a winner in life and that's what really counts.
Anthony Rhoads is a sports writer for The Daily. His column appears on Wednesdays and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.