I don’t think so. Here’s why:
I’m on our high school’s boys tennis team, and the other day we travelled to compete against another school. Going into the match we knew that they were one of the best, if not the best team that we’d face during the whole season. During our introductions to begin the match, when I heard who I’d be playing against my heart sunk. I’d heard my opponent was good and figured I’d lose no matter how hard I played.
I did lose. But not really.
Every other game going on around us lasted no more than an hour. Courts began to empty as we rallied back and forth, and before long we were the only ones still playing. I couldn’t believe that I’d even lasted an hour with my opponent.
Our match lasted three-and-a-half hours.
He won the first set, which easily consumed the first hour, then I narrowly took the second in a tie-breaker. Onto the third and final set, we played for another hour or so until coming to yet another tie-breaker. By then the lights on the courts had turned off and most people watching had gone home. Yet we played on, dripping with sweat and aching from head to toe.
I realize that not everyone understands the rules of tennis, so I’ll just say that it was a very close game. When the score of the tie-breaker was 6-2 my opponent, I knew that if I lost the next point, it would be my last. He served, I failed to return it over the net. The ball seemed to fall in slow motion as I watched it collide with the net. A wave of disappointment flooded over me, and hours after the match was done and everyone had gone home, I still couldn’t shake the feeling that I’d let my team down, for sure, but more importantly, myself.
Then I came to a realization.
One of those mini epiphanies that have brought to life every one of my posts.
I lost. But I tried my best. I gave my best effort, and it wasn’t good enough, but I knew I gave it my all. Now you might be thinking, “Well that’s all good, but you still lost”, and to that I say: it’s subjective.
Here’s my definition of a loss: picture a day where you have something to get done. It could be anything, from chores around the house to an important report at work to helping your friend move. Now picture yourself really tired, sore, and with a huge to-do list that isn’t getting any shorter with every minute you spend working on the task at hand. So, you get lazy. You don’t give it your all. You only vacuum one room of the house, you slap together a report in ten minutes, you take forever to help move really heavy items onto the moving truck. You’re tired, you’re sore, you don’t feel like doing any of that.
That is a loss.
A day where you don’t try your best, where you’re tired, or hurting, or you’ve got a full plate, and you let it get not just you down, but everyone else around you as well.
So I lost that game. But I also won. For if I’m able to look myself in the mirror at night and tell myself that I tried my best, that I gave it my all, then no matter what happened during the day, I’ll know that I’ve won. You only have your best to give; no one can ask for any more. As long as you gave it your all, that’s a win in my book.