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Published on June 20th, 2015 | by Discussion Questions

What can you do when losing becomes an attitude?





MARY WRITES: At my school, our basketball teams rarely win games. This past season we didn’t win any games, and last year we only won one game.

In past years, people have had really negative attitudes to our school’s sport teams and joked about them. This year, we didn’t have this problem. No one joked or talked negatively about our losing streak. But I think no one expects to win.

What I mean is, we don’t play to win because winning seems out of reach. We tell ourselves it’s possible and on the surface of our mind we are positive. But I think in our subconsciousness we are always going to lose. We don’t fight like winning is possible.

What can I do to help my team and me? Words don’t help any more. Losing has infected my school deeply. What can I do?


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  • I can relate. I’ve been going to Teen Leadership Conference for two years and will be back this year. They do a dodgeball tournament and we name our team DWYL. (It’s pronounced “dwill”.) We were made of whatever six inexperienced players we had that year. The first year we pretty much lost every game. I can’t remember if we ever won– maybe like once. We almost decided to give up on the whole tournament until one of us stood and decided to stick out out. We all rallied. So we finished the tournament, losing once again. We became known for having a highly positive attitude despite losing all the time. It was great. Haha. We came back the next year with most of the same players and tried again. We were excited to try (and probably lose) again. We sorta knew we wouldn’t win. But we had a blast! We also found out that several from the TLC staff were fans of us. Haha that was great. So we fought well. Died well. But then there is this year. We so another tournament in a month. I’m already expecting to lose. I just assume we will. We had some pretty amazing stuff happen in the past years, and I bet we’ll have new amazing plays this year. But I’m not expecting to win. I’m thrilled about it because it’s fun and we get to try. We play hard.

    Okay so that was a long comment and I don’t know if it was helpful at all. Would anyone like to tell what they learned from it? Are there any hidden lessons to be learned? I’m sorry guys. Haha.

    • Hey, don’t apologize, Sam! Good thoughts! :) I’m glad you wrote them! I didn’t get any hidden lessons from them, but they’re good anyway!

      • Thanks man! I finished writing it and wasn’t sure if it was worth posting. This was very encouraging.

        • MimeforJesus

          That’s really what a lot of Hard Things are like. Even when we still lose, the difference is that we went down fighting.
          Now I’m really wishing I was going to TLC! !

          • Haha yeah! (You could play for DWYL if you were there. I need to recruit two or three players. It should be really easy will all the fans we have. Haha.)

          • MimeforJesus

            Yep, that sounds like a fairly easy job. Unfortunately I’ve never played dodgeball the way most people do… we always had a circle of people throwing, and one person in the middle trying not to get hit. (No, this was not some form of intra-sibling punishment!)

          • Oh yeah. Haha. I got to play it a lot like that a week ago, only, there were multiple people in the middle. It’s still pretty tough.

          • MimeforJesus

            Ooh, sounds fun!!

          • MimeforJesus

            Yeah, it’s tough but it’s really fun! I played it that way with my church once. Kids against adults. That was interesting!

    • Chris T.

      I think that’s great advice. When we go and play sports, we like to win, but the whole reason we play in the first place is to have fun. I run track for my school and I’m okay, but I have fun competing and trying to improve. I use my times to help motivate myself.

      • Thanks Chris! Yeah, one of the biggest goals is fun so let’s at least have fun! :)

    • oh my gargoyles, I am AWFUL at dodgeball. But it’s so much fun!

      • There is a reason I never claimed to be good at it– I’m really not. 😀

    • I LOVE dodgeball! I do have to ask: What the blazes does DWYL mean?
      Dogs Walking Your Line
      Donkeys Wafting Yellow Limes

      @Brooklyn M.

      Sam, I really do want to know what it stands for!

      • Nope, it stands for Don’t Waste Your Life. It’s named after the John Piper book. If you haven’t read it, you can get a free PDF of the whole book here:
        http://cdn.desiringgod.org/pdf/books_dwyl/dwyl_full.pdf

        So yeah, it was the theme of our micro missions trip we did that first year. The cool part was that our shirts had a really cool DWYL thing on the back, so we made one of those those our team shirt. It was epic. I’m so excited to play again next month!

        • Sounds good! Yeah, I’ve begun the book. I haven’t finished it yet, but it is good.

          • Haha yeah it’s a tough book to get through. The last few chapters are really good though, so if you can make it past the middle you’ll be fine.

        • MimeforJesus

          So *that’s* what it is!!
          How’d you guys do this year?

          • We won’t be playing until next Tuesday! So no, I can’t tell you how it went yet. 😉

          • MimeforJesus

            Oh… okay. I thought it was at LA, not TLC. Now I understand :)

      • Josh A

        Doing What You Like, Taylor! Oh wait, maybe it’s Dying White Yodeling Llamas. Or Dumb Wicked Yak Livers. I’m not sure. XD

        • Ha, ha, “Dumb wicked yak livers” is the best!

      • Oooh! Yay!
        Is it Dancing With Your Lasagna? Drowning While Yapping Literature? Dressed With Yellow Lavender?

        • Drawing Watery Yellow Lemons? Dogs With Yawning Ladies? Dawdling Waddling Yankees Leaning?

          • Dinosaurs Walking Young Ladies? Dogs Wasting Your Laughter? Drab Walnuts Yearning Love?

          • Doodling While Yogi Listens? Delicious White Yogurt Licking? Daringly Whistling Your Lessons?

          • Dancing When You Leave? Drafting Water Yoga Language? Doorknobs With Your Lobster?

          • Dark Wet Yugoslavian Lipstick? (Where did that one come from? :) Dimly Wharped Young Lilies? Dainty Walkers Yielding Limestone?

          • Good land, you’re a billion times more creative than me! Uhmmm… Dutifully Watering Your Lawn? Doubting What You Love? Discussion With Yo Lion?

          • Daughters Willingly Yelling Loudly? Danes Whacking Your Legs? Dudes Watercoloring Yards Lazily?

          • My brain huuuuuuurts…
            Danish Whale Yapping Lovingly? Dashing Western Yellow Life? Dumb Wacky Youthful Lizards?

          • Dashing Wailing Yacking Ladies? Donuts With Yucky Lice? I think that’s about it for me…

          • Whew, good! *deep breaths* that was challenging, bro. Now, I need to go rest my brain….

          • You… two… are… NUTS.

          • Sorry, Lauren, that came out looking like you were calling us nuts. I’m sure you meant “nice”, so I just wanted to let you know so you could edit your comment.

          • Lololololololol I’m dyinggggg

          • *checks spelling* *tries again* N-U-T-S.

          • Man, it still showed up wrong. You must have a problem with your keyboard!

          • Josh A

            Yeah, they did go nuts… =P

          • Ya know, you don’t help much either… 😉

          • Nathanael B.

            what just happened?

          • Josh A

            IKR? =P

          • They had too much time on their hands. Instead of doing school work, or out doing hard things, they were wracking their brain with figuring out if it was Donuts With Yucky Lice or Dashing Western Yellow Life. Hard working, courageous teenagers, no?

          • Hey, I was letting off some stress! And if you don’t think that’s a “hard thing”, you should try it sometime. :) Ok, not exactly what we generally mean by hard thing, but still!

          • Stress…?

          • School = stress

          • Oooooooooh. Sorry ’bout dat.

          • Not your fault! It’s all good.

          • Leaving now, goodbye.

          • We were fulfilling an old @brooklynmm:disqus and Taylor B. tradition.

          • Nathanael B.

            tradition huh?

          • Yep, tradition. We’ve done that a few times people leave such juicy bait just hanging out there.

          • Emma

            You guys are hilarious, @Brooklyn M., @Taylor B. !

          • You’re slowing down… :)

      • MimeforJesus

        Hahaha! I’m loving these names.

    • Amos Domingo

      God bless your team.

  • Josh A

    Get better. XD

    • Josh A

      Ok, so that’s probs really lame…sorry. =/

      • Josh A

        Hehe, it was so bad I deleted it. 😉

        • Who are you talking too lol

          • Himself. :)

          • Josh A

            Me, I posted a two word comment “do better” or something like that…needless to say, I didn’t like it and deleted it. XD

          • Oh ok lol I was wondering what you are talking about. XD

  • Josh A

    Watch Facing the Giants.

    • Love that movie! :)

    • Seth Yoder

      Hahaha that’s the best advice I’ve seen yet! 😂😂

    • FACING THE GIANTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Josh A

        *ducks for cover* hehe yeah…. =P

    • Emma

      I really like Facing the Giants!

  • I’m a taekwondo competitor on the team from the USA to World Championships. Every year, we go and get killed in most events, for about the last 12 years. This was my first World Championships, so this was the first time I saw it, but it’s true. So I know what you’re talking about!

    But rather than taking the losing and let that define your game from then on, take the loss and use it to push you to train harder. Come back with the attitude that you are going to push harder and train harder. Push yourself past your limit. You will come back, and you will prove to the other teams that you are competitive in the sport! :) Just stick in there. Push through it.

    Our team has slowly been pushing through the same feelings you’re having, and now we’re starting to take big steps forward on this stuff. The point though is to push it hard!

  • When I play basketball losing is not my option and found out it wasn’t such a good choice. When I start losing I feel like I will lose it all and I struggle with it. But I figured that losing/failings gives you the opportunity to improve on your weak areas and to train and work hard. Don’t be afraid to lose just don’t make the same mistakes.

  • tmselden

    There are so many answers to this question. Good attitudes come from knowing who you are in Christ, coupled with being in scripture, coupled with being in a godly environment. I know this has been said a thousand times before, but while it isn’t as fun to lose as to win, someone has to lose and you shouldn’t let something that is obviously temporal change who you are.

    Thinking positive thoughts can sometimes be a form of mysticism. Our goal as Christians is to take whatever we are challenged with and learn to accept it. It may be Christ is trying to conform something in you into His likeness. It may be small or it may be big, but He is faithful to teach you and comfort you.

    Your attitude says a lot to others. Encourage others with God’s love. And don’t forget, we learn a lot by losing, much more than by winning.

    I wish you the best.

  • Seth Yoder

    Might I suggest that you play to glorify God! Your ultimate goal should not be to win, but to glorify God. Losing is sometimes a better way bring glory to God. I know it’s frustrating to lose often. I’ve been there. Think of it as a test of character. This is the way I like to think of it: We play our best, we try our hardest, all glory to God, and if we win, it’s a bonus!

    • Josh A

      #bestcommentyet =P

  • I understand what you’re saying completely. I’ve actually be struggling this past week with my softball team.
    We were in first place in the championship. During a game last Tuesday, we were tied til the fourth inning, when our star pitcher got benched for an awful attitude. This affected my entire team. No one had faith in our backup pitcher. We lost the game, and now we’re in third place.
    It made me so upset because I was the only one on the field encouraging our pitcher. No one believed in us anymore. I felt like my encouragement just blew away with the wind.
    But these past two games, I kept being as encouraging as possible, and my team has won both times. I even get to go on All Stars because my coach loved my confidence and encouragement.

    The truth is, we can be as encouraging as possible. But we cant change anyone. We cant make people have faith in our teams. The only thing we can do is play our hardest, keep encouraging, and pray that God will work through us.

  • Zipporah

    It is incredible how connected our attitudes and actions really are. When we believe something is impossible, we can’t accomplish it. But when we believe we can do something that is almost physically impossible, wonders can be achieved. My advice: remember who you are playing for, remember it is just a game, and meant to be fun, and be sure to help your team develope a positive outlook. That’s all I have for you at the moment :) good luck!

  • Ohhhhh I struggle so much with this. I’m a tennis player and I’m not coordinated at all, so oftentimes I get really disappointed or I want to go do something else and I don’t try as hard as I should, even when I tell myself that I’m going to play my hardest.

    Maybe you could start a school spirit squad, or show your support by going to all of the games or something. Or, if you’re on a team or you play tennis or something, you could try really really hard and eventually you’ll win. Show that it IS possible. (An attitude will only get people so far. It’s the fruit of the attitude that counts.) Also, watch FACING THE GIANTS. It’s my favorite movie of all time.

    oh haha somebody already said that….well in that case, you really need to watch it!

  • Amos Domingo

    First of all losing is not a bad thing. Even if it’s a streak. Losing is an opportunity to learn.
    If you have a friend in the basketball team might as well talk to him about this:
    Why are we losing?
    What do we need to improve?
    What are those areas?
    Who are we playing for?
    Just some questions to ask your friend or ask the team.
    I myself am part of a basketball team in our college. Ever since entering the main league since 2007 we never won a championship though we always make it to the Final Four. It’s just my second year in the team and some of my teammates are pessimist. Which is not a good thing. There’s only 2 Christians of us in the team. Mostly are Catholics. As Christians we have to have Christ-like attitudes. Seek God first in everything we do. Play for God. God is your audience. God can see us play. We do not have to please others. We have to please God. Is it pleasing in His eyes what’s ‘really’ happening in your school’s team?

    My sister always reminds me that. Play for God and not others. Please God and not others. Give your best for God and everything will follow. It starts with you.
    When there are trials, struggles and hardships. A great breakthrough will always come. Keep the faith.

    I am also injured and in need of prayer for fast recovery. I injured myself (left knee, knee sprain, mild lateral tear) last February 25 and I still can’t jog or run. Thank you!

    • Oh, man! I’ll pray for your knee! I’ve sprained my knee before too, and it gets in your way immensely for exercise.

      • Thanks a lot. Well it did.. going down and climbing stairs is hard for me. I feel like my knee is not stabilized anymore. It feels like my knee cap is shaking. Sometimes when I’m walking it will just give away. It’s really hard and frustrating too because whe other’s see me they ask why am I walking like this/that. :3

        THANK YOU again. :)

        • I’ll keep you in mind! Don’t give up. Stay strong! :)

        • How is your knee?

          • In the third week of October I’ll undergo Arthroscopic Surgery Hamstring Graft.. I’m really praying that I don’t have to undergo surgery because it costs a lot, and the money that will be spend to that should be for my tuition fee..

          • Ah, man, that stinks! A friend of mine will be having a graft in her knee for a torn ACL in the coming weeks. I’m sorry, man! I’ll be praying for you!

          • Yes, it does. But I believe God has a purpose for this. I just don’t know yet, but God is good. Thank you bro! :)

    • MimeforJesus

      I’ll be praying! Ouch…

    • I’m sorry about your knee. Because of my slim build, my knees occasionally pop out of the socket – and, boy, is it painful! I will be praying for you.

    • 😉

  • Losing is something that no wants, but there always is a loser. I like to play table tennis with my uncle I lose part of the time you have just got to just take it as it comes. If you lose at something just don’t take it so badly that you don’t want to play again or that you don’t try. If you really want to win you have to try harder, like with all of your might. I use to always to lose to my uncle at table tennis but I kept trying and at last after mouths of trying I did win. Only because I kept trying and didn’t quit. So if your playing something you should be trying to win, but if you lose and you know that you done your best. You just need to know that person or team was better than you that time.

    • MimeforJesus

      Is this your first comment on here, Nathan? I don’t remember seeing you on the Reb before!

      • @MimeforJesus I’ve been on here for over a month now, like my brother said a few weeks ago you must be blind!!!!! I think you liked me on here before. Have a nice holiday with your Sister and kids.

        • MimeforJesus

          Okay, I’m not going to welcome anybody else until I’m.around enough to see who’s been here and who’s new. I haven’t been on so much recently, so I look like I’m blind. And I knew you were on SOG and other blogs, but I didn’t remember seeing a Reb comment before. Sorry! I do enjoy seeing your comments!

          • It’s ok MineforJesus thanks for welcoming me even if it was a late one. One has ever welcome me before so thanks. Just be a bit more careful before you ever do it again. I enjoy seeing your comments too! Thanks for visiting our blog.

          • MimeforJesus

            About your blog… I can’t seem to find it again. Can you find the link for me? I’m using godatthecentreofourlives.blogspot.com but I’m not coming up with anything. :/
            Thank you!

          • I just try the link it seems to work find. Daniel is sending you a pm on revive right now you might see his pm before this. I hope to get on revive sometime?

  • Hannah Martin

    Do everything heartily, as to the Lord. Do all you do for the glory of God. Remember you are playing for a king. And not just a king, but THE King. You and your teammates can create a chant, reminding you all that you are playing for God Himself, not the school. If you do that, no matter what, you are winners. You are winners in God’s eyes anyway. And if you lose, lose with grace. Smile because you are God’s child. Tell the other team they are awesome. Be joyful always. Then others will see you and say they want to be like you.

  • thatcher jane

    “whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might” if you work hard, it doesn’t matter if you won or lost, because you tried your best, that sounds kind of cleiche, but it is true.

    • MimeforJesus

      Hey thatcher! You added to your name! :)

      • thatcher jane

        yeah, that is now my first and middle name.

  • Megan

    Hi Mary, sorry I’m a little late to the game…I don’t know if anyone has mentioned this yet, but have you seen the movie Facing the Giants?? That movie is ALL about this EXACT subject! And it’s made by Christian people from an entirely Christian point of view! If you haven’t seen it, I encourage you to watch it!! I’m sure it would be an encouragement to you!! And maybe you could even show it to your team..?

    • Megan

      Ohmygoodness!!! My “late to the game” pun was COMPLETELY unintended..!! Sorry!! I hope that wasn’t offensive to you!!!! I meant it in no such way!

  • You can always play to the best of your abilities so that it might inspire others. Change your attitude first and others will hopefully follow :)

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