What better way to start the year off than to dive to the depths of my heart?
I try to love many things in this life. Two that are near the top are ultimate and my girlfriend. I recently lost both.
The devastation and embarrassment of losing in quarters now seems an insignificant blip in comparison to losing the love of my life. They are, however, similar in many ways. This is not a cry for help (ok, maybe it is… a little…). It’s a lesson for those who want to listen.
Knowing you can’t ever fix the past is what makes learning from the past so important. In both cases, I have learned so much. Here it is:
Revolver: It’s hard to explain the love you have for a team. If you are on a team you love, you are lucky. It will make you work so much more to help achieve the goals your team sets. It also makes coming up short hurt that much more. Whenever we lose, I get scared that my teammates won’t love me anymore. It’s silly, I know, but then I see them the next season and hear their jokes and watch their horseplay and I remember they are the reason I work so hard and why losing a game won’t ever bring down my love for them.
Relationship: We all know “it’s better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all” to be true. But when you are nursing a broken heart with a bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue Label, it’s hard to see the wisdom in that sentence. Still, even with sting so strong and the tears unable to be held back, I can see just how lucky I was to be that madly deeply in love. If you ever get a chance with someone, don’t hesitate. Jump.
Deserving the loss.
Revolver: There’s not really much to say here. We played badly and responded badly to playing badly. And they played great, making plays on offense and defense. Yeah, we could have won despite all that, but we really didn’t deserve to. And in the midst of it all I internally blamed teammates instead of helping them.
Relationship: My first thoughts, of course, were denial. “I don’t deserve this.” But then I actually thought back and realized that when things got tough for us, I responded terribly. I put her on the other team and tried to play against her. I played it like it was game I could beat her at, like it was chess. I tried to put her in checkmate instead of treating it like a Sudoku puzzle we were solving together. Now I will be playing solitaire.
Losing confidence in “us.”
Revolver: I fell victim to the superhero mentality. I no longer believed they were on my side. It was me trying to drag them off the dark planet; they would never make it. I was Vin Diesel in Pitch Black. Instead of believing we could do it, I thought “I must do this, I don’t trust them.” It’s a poisonous mentality and it’s bad in a team sport that relies so heavily on teamwork.
Relationship: This was the crux of my demise. I repeatedly did things that alienated her. I showed her over and over that “I” was more important than “us.” When things went bad, I’d go to the same line: “This is who I am. Deal with it.” When things got really bad, I simply pushed her away and ignored her. If you want to be with somebody, remember to work with them not against them. You can never win with somebody if they aren’t on your team.
Revolver: Going into the game, I was overly confident. GOAT had been playing terribly in the games I had watched: they turned the disc over a lot and their defense couldn’t have stopped the disc if it had been a beach ball. The first few points proved my thoughts to be correct, and I relaxed. Then a switch happened and that same cockiness turned into confusion. I still expected them to slip back into the bad team I had seen all weekend. They did not.
Relationship: “I love her so much she will never leave me.” “I am the best for her.” “No one can treat her better than I.” These are the thoughts I had. But just like in sports, believing you are the best and actually being the best are two different things. When it comes down to it, the one who makes the plays when it matters will win. I did not make the plays. I remember so vividly each opportunity I had, each time I sat back and didn’t make a play and watched the other team score. And I remember thinking each time that it wouldn’t matter, that I would be able to come back to her. Now, the game is over and I am left with that bitter feeling you get when you know you didn’t leave it all on the field.
Revolver: Trust is the foundation of almost all great teams. I watched as our trust in ourselves dissipated over the game, and I did nothing. We fell to fear instead falling back on trust. We tightened up. The sidelines were silent and tense. “Who is going to mess up?” was the mentality instead of “who is going to do something awesome?”
Relationship: It was the final straw. It seems so obvious now. I thought I wanted an open relationship, and I even pushed her to make use of it. Yet every time she did, I responded with negativity. She couldn’t trust what I was saying, she couldn’t trust that she’d be safe in my arms, she couldn’t even talk to me without me being upset for something I wanted. I was unable to be honest with myself, which in turn meant I couldn’t be honest with her.
Revolver: The awesome thing in most sports is that there is always next year. As a competitor, the thrill of seeing teammates committing to training in the offseason gives me a wonderful surge of hope that next year will be better. Building something great with friends is the reason I keep coming back. Even if I can’t play, when my knees have turned to dust, I can coach or teach or GM, and this is why I love sports.
Relationship: I will probably never get another chance with her. Swallowing that fact is near impossible at this point, and I choke at the thought. The saddest part for me is that I will never get to show her how losing her helped me see the errors in my ways more clearly. If I am ever brave enough to fall in love again, the next girl will get the benefits of my newly learned skills of compassion. Just like there is always another game in sports, there’s always another person to love.
Revolver: When a devastating loss takes place it is important to look at the successes as well. We were really close to winning that game. We lost by one point. At Worlds, we only won by one in quarters but then went on to win the whole kit and caboodle. So, we will not blow everything up. We will make small tweaks and build better players and a more cohesive team.
Relationship: This is the same as the above thought. Although it’s hard for me to see the good in myself, I must not destroy myself with guilt. There is good in me. Sometimes I even see it manifest into action. If I want to move on and be whole, it’s imperative I remember the good in me and the good I can be for other people.
Revolver: Every year is a new year. I love that. No team has claimed the next championship. What we do from now until then will determine whether we win. I have already decided to be more of a leader on my team and help younger players (if they will listen). I have a lot of knowledge and experience to share with them, but I am always scared they won’t listen. I’m looking forward to seeing you all on the field next season.
Relationship: Over the last few months, I’ve been so paralyzed by the fear of losing her that I had become a petrified piece of wood. My sense of wonder became a fossil, my curiosity for life calcified. Now I am free to move again, and although I am still buried beneath the weight of my own anguish, I will dig myself out. It’s the strength to rise again that I have always found beautiful in others, now it’s my turn. If you are in a relationship and you enjoy being in it, work at it, even when times are good. Don’t run from the hard times; just like in sports, it is how you overcome the hard times that defines your team. Lastly, don’t ever wait to show someone how much they mean to you. If you wait, you may never get the chance.
If you would like to give me a hug when you see me, that would be great. I desperately need it.