On the night of March 1st, I was in a hotel room in Idabel, Oklahoma preparing for a leadership and team-building training session the next day at a nearby manufacturing facility. While I was going through the preparation process, I was listening to the La Tech vs Ole Miss baseball game on the radio. I was a little concerned when the game was delayed due to lightning around the ballpark. I’ve been around baseball my entire life either playing or coaching and know the rules associated with the suspension of a game in the middle of an inning. Even though the Bulldogs were winning at the time of the suspension, they were not winning at the completion of the last full inning.
Sure enough, the game would never be resumed. Ole Miss would be named the winner unless they agreed to finish the game later in the season. They would not agree to complete the game. Furthermore, they did what they could to delay the game somewhat in the top of the 7th inning and elected not to tarp the field during the initial delay. There was no motivation for Ole Miss to finish the game. They are part of the SEC and as such, mid-week games don’t mean much to them. They just need to win half their conference game to advance to post-season play. They proved last year that a team can be the last team named to post-season play and still win a national championship. They are a great baseball program and have a great fan base. However, that night, Ole Miss baseball displayed more gamesmanship than sportsmanship.
La Tech is not part of the SEC and isn’t afforded the privileges associated with that conference membership. La Tech either needs to win their conference tournament or win 40+ games and hopefully have enough of those wins against quality opponents to get the attention of the selection committee. That game was much more important to the Bulldogs than Ole Miss. Those factors didn’t matter. Tech would take the defeat and leave with the disappointment.
That story doesn’t have to end there. Whether we are talking Bulldog baseball or life in general, we can evaluate the outcome of a game, a challenge, a negotiation, a sales proposal, a relationship, or any other encounter in life in one of three ways. We can succeed, fail, or learn.
If you live long enough, you will experience the wins and losses of life. The key to life is to learn from these experiences and continue to move toward becoming the individual or team we are destined to become. Far too many of us dwell on the disappointment and fail to learn from the experience. We all need to continue asking ourselves “what can I learn through this experience”. Failure is not losing. Failure is giving up and not reaching our potential, not living out our identity, and not pursuing our purpose. Dealing with disappointment is a key part of that process. Disappointment is a natural emotion. How we move forward makes all the difference.
Whatever your challenge, your obstacle, or your encounter is today, I challenge you to embrace it and learn from it regardless of the outcome. Turn the disappointment into a learning process to propel you toward your destiny. No individual or single event should define us. Learn and move forward.