Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Lessons from a Sports Banquet

Last night we attended the Winter Sports Banquet for our high school junior – who played on the 28 -8 Lady Mustang Basketball Team.

Sports banquets are long events (extreme understatement). Each and every coach recaps the season and then gives out a varying number of awards. There are the expected MVP, Most Improved and Hustle Awards but also a few I’ve never heard of until last night. Probably the most unusual award given last night was presented to a member of the Varsity Cheer Squad – the Cheer Heart Princess Award (I’m still not sure exactly what that means – but the winner was very excited). The length of the presenters makes the Oscars seem brief – again it was a long evening.

But there were some real highlights and my favorite were words spoken by a senior on the Boys Varsity Soccer Team.

After the Soccer Coach, Coach Ade (pronounced awwdee), had given out the player awards this senior player stepped forward to present their coach with an award as a expression of their thanks. He began by saying:

On various club teams and in high school I’ve now played for Coach Ade for seven years. During those years there are been seasons when we’ve won almost everything and seasons when we’ve won hardly anything.

Then he finished:

I’d rather play for Coach Ade and lose than to win with any other coach.

What an amazing testimony to a coach’s leadership and what a sobering thought when I consider my own.

Yesterday I had “blown up” a bit at senior staff over a variety of small issues (and a few not so small) that I had allowed to build for too long. It wasn’t exactly leadership at its very best – I definitely still make mistakes.

Listening to this “footballer” describe his coach I doubted if anyone on my team would be saying the same yesterday evening.

Great leadership is forged in losing seasons.

Today I’ve been reflecting on how I lead when we are winning and how I lead when we are losing (and thinking of re-reading Pat Conroy’s My Losing Season).

I love it when people actually respond to a post so here’s a quick question:

What lessons have you learned during a losing season?


  1. don't worry, we're reading. I just can't think of anything I learned. :(

    Without losing seasons you can never be "most improved". Early and frequent success in life is taken for granted. Most importantly it causes a refocus on what's important and not temporal. (Phil 4:11-13)

  2. Thanks to the economy, our recruitment advertising agency is going through a losing season as we speak. We need to turn the corner soon or it won't be pretty. What I'm learning: the whole family prays together more during a losing season; a 14-year-old son really does understand more than I give him credit for; you can't quit when the light at the end of the tunnel could only be one phone call or referral away; the number of post-it notes on your desk with "hang-in-there" scripture verses expands exponentially with the difficulty of the season; God is in charge.