“The greatest accomplishment is not in never falling, but in rising again after you fall.” – Vince Lombardi, Coaching Legend
The first week of the 2016 season saw plenty of adversity for Liga HEB. Lopsided scores on two of three pitches and uncharacteristic aggression in the week's tightest matchup threatened to dampen the excitement of opening day. It's likely that discouragement will descend on players who were on the wrong side of a blowout; anger on students who feel wronged by the post-game antics of a few peers who favor violence over healthy expression. Those feelings would be normal. Expected. But our students are better than that.
The game of soccer is a miniaturization of life. On the field complex truths become simple, magnified by a potent mixture of competition and passion. In soccer and in life, the following is true no matter who you are, what you do or how well you do it:
- You will sometimes find yourself on the wrong end of a bad deal, a bad call or a bad situation.
- There will one day be someone who gets the better of you.
- You will fail.
Anyone who says differently is peddling the lie that you are defined by your accomplishments. This is patently false. You are remembered by your accomplishments, but you are defined by the journey to them.
There is no such thing as a person who has never failed and there is nothing inherently wrong with failing. In fact, the only failure that cannot be converted into success is the failure we embrace as complete. As Coach Lombardi says, it's not our shortcomings and mistakes that define us. It's our response.
We do not remember men or women who lived their life without risk and we do not celebrate those who responded to difficulty by damaging others. Our heroes are those who sought to heal rather than to harm, to overcome obstacles through hard work rather than abandoning their dreams at the first sign of defeat.
For Real Euless and Stallions FC, losers of 12-0 and 9-0 matches respectively, the space between Week 1 and Week 2 is an opportunity to overcome despair and rally together. For FC Hurst and Spartans FC, the sides that came out victorious in those games, this is a time to develop humility and focus. And for the young men whose excellent football was undermined by a small group of students who mishandled adversity, this is a defining week. After a back-and-forth 4-3 classic, the players of Raiders FC and Atlético Central will have the opportunity to establish themselves as mature beyond their years.
Next week is a new week, and opportunity hangs in the air. Opportunity to rebound from a bad loss. To respond to a triumphant victory. To grow. It is by responding to their trials with joy and perseverance, by refusing to be defeated by defeat, that these young men will step away from childish things and become the incredible people we know they can be.
Week 2 is going to be spectacular because these students are going to prove themselves great.