Just some thoughts:
The year had been one of great frustrations and disappoints for not only him, but his players and his community. The team started the season by losing the first few games by very small margins and his thinking was “we are going to get better as the season progresses.” It did not. The players accepted the season for what it was and the coach often wondered what the players, the kids thought years later about this experience. Did they consider it a waste, how did losing make them feel? His curiosity continued with him and thus he took it upon himself years after his retirement to return to this community and find a number of the players from that team. The players were now well into their adult years, they were parents and member of their communities. One of his players in this later years sit down when ask by his old coach if playing on a team that only won two games affected him in a negative way these many years later said:.
the rest of your life, and remember all the good times. Losing is a part of the game and
you have to learn to accept it. I would play again, it was great and I learned to play with
others and get along with others. I definitely would want my child to have the same possible
(No Nets to Cut Down”—David Porter)
I think sometimes today our society equates far too much the words of success and winning. If winning is not present then no success. Not so. I believe much of the success of athletics is in the process, the experience of participating. Losing does not take away the value of attempting. I think “winning” in the minds of too many is multiplied beyond its value. The successful writer Pat Conroy once said “you learn much more when losing than when winning.” I believe there is some validity in that statement.
In the past few weeks I have attended a young man that I know high school wrestling matches. In the last three I have seen the young man has lost all three. Two he was been penned and the other by points. In seeing me the other day he thanked me for my note I had written him encouraging his participation and my coming to see him. He also appeared a bit “sheepish” and embarrassed with his performance. I immediately assured him that I was so pleased to see him participating in this program and how I thought each time I had seen him wrestle he had improved.
Everyone and especially our young people need to be assured that winning is not everything and in no way is winning an assurance of success and losing in no way a sign of failure.
To quote this old basketball coach after his meetings with former players:
happiness and sadness. It teaches life, and that’s why we play the game.”
(No Nets to Cut Down—David Porter)
The old Indiana high school basketball coach David Porter died today July 2, 2013 at the age of 94. I did not know Coach Porter but I did see his teams play a few times.
There are some defeats more triumphant than victories
I think those communities where Coach Porter taught and coached and all those young men who once played for him regardless of the record were better for participating.
July 2, 2013