To begin, this is my first Bottom of the Ninth in 40 weeks that will mention nothing about John Wooden. There's an element of sadness in completing that journey, but there's also a feeling of accomplishment. Rarely do we as people take the time, energy, or discipline to do something consistently over such a long period of time. I know my coaching and life were blessed over the past 40 weeks, and I look forward to the next phase of Bottom of the Ninth devotionals.
This week's Bot9 stems from a conversation I had with some players in the van during our San Diego trip this week. After losing a game at Tony Gwynn Stadium to Coronado on Saturday night, we opened the tournament on Monday with a victory. The players in my van made a comment that they hate losing far more than they love winning. I challenged the players in my van to re-think this stance, that loving winning was far more important in influencing their ability to play with freedom. There are three reasons I presented to the players on why loving winning is far more important than hating losing.
1. Hating losing stems from fear, and possibility insecurity - There is no joy when something is done out of fear or insecurity. As we've committed to helping our players play with absolute freedom, we've uncovered multiple layers of fear in our players and their approach to the game. Hating losing more than loving winning was just another of those layers. On a deeper level, hating losing could reveal a deeper sense of insecurity where one believes he doesn't belong in the competition at all. We owe it to ourselves to overcome that fear and insecurity, and know we belong in that moment on that stage. We've been created for such a time as this to glorify our Creator.
2. Hating losing prevents someone from feeling joy when they do win - Take a look at Crash Davis in the picture above. He's experienced joy after calling his shot to his teammates in the dugout before his at bat. That doesn't happen when someone hates losing - he's loving winning. I love the scene in the movie where Nuke is walking from seat to seat on the bus, plops down next to Crash, and says, "I love winning, man...it's like, better than losing!" People who hate losing often miss the joy that winning provides. We owe it to ourselves to soak in the joy the Lord has provided for us that day.
3. Loving winning causes it to happen more frequently - Love, like excitement or effort, are interesting things. They are all endless tanks that continually re-fill as one chooses to love, show excitement, or give a great effort. For some reason, we think that things like love are in limited supply. In fact, the opposite is true. Choose to love and watch how you experience more love than you could have imagined. Show more excitement and watch how you just continue to be more excited about life. Give exceptional efforts and watch how much more effort you are able to give everything in life. I'm convinced that loving winning will cause winning to happen more often than when you fear losing.
Romans 12:9-10 says, "Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor." Let us continue to love winning more than we hate losing in our lives as we honor the Lord on the field of play.