Everyone Can Be A Winner, Even When They Lose

In the last few weeks, I’ve been on the road more than I’ve been at home. So I was really looking forward to coming back to Nashville on Sunday and spending time resting. But in the spirit of full disclosure, I was also excited about watching the NFL conference championships.

I love pro football, especially at this time of year when it’s all coming down to the wire. And while my favorite game was my Niners playing the Giants, I wanted to discuss something that happened with the other game that day. As I sat down to watch the Patriots/Ravens game, I started thinking about the teamwork it takes to get to this level.

The best example for the Patriots came in the second quarter. That’s when Patriots running back Benjarvus Green-Ellis ran it in for a touchdown. To celebrate the score, Benjarvus jumped up and down and began pointing at a patch on his chest. It wasn’t a personal victory dance or even a “look-how-great-I-am” shuffle. Instead, it was in honor of Patriot owner Robert Kraft’s wife, who died just before the season began.

Each player wore Myra Kraft’s initials on their jersey to celebrate the woman who had been married to the team’s owner for nearly 50 years. They dedicated the season to her and had even given Kraft a painting of his wife for Christmas. Benjarvus and the team were honoring her the best way they knew how—with touchdowns.

On the other side of the field, teamwork shown just as brightly. For the Ravens, it happened at the end of the game. Actually … maybe even later. Kicker Billy Cundiff was being interviewed by a reporter from USA Today about the field goal he whiffed to lose the game. He didn’t give any excuses or blame his fellow players. Cundiff said he simply missed the kick. And the biggest disappointment for this seven-year veteran? “Letting my teammates down,” he said.

The late great football coach Vince Lombardi once said, “People who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defenses, or the problems of modern society.” That certainly was the case on Sunday—only both teams won, no matter the score. And the same holds true for you. When your people come together, working toward the greater good, magic will happen and everyone wins. It doesn’t get better than that.

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18 thoughts on “Everyone Can Be A Winner, Even When They Lose”

  1. First off, welcome back, Chris! We missed you! Second, team work so often takes a back seat to star players as the reason these teams make it this far. Thank goodness we have coaches and others like you out there placing the emphasis on where it should be – the team.

  2. I recently read a book on war and the writer said that the soldier’s greatest fear was not of death. Interesting, isn’t it? He said the soldier’s greatest fear while in the midst of the hottest battle was that he (or she) would let down his fellow soldier- that he would do something that would result in injury to the soldier fighting alongside him.

    What if our team’s greatest fear was that they would let down their co-workers by not doing their job well?

    And welcome home, Chris – enjoy!

    1. And this is one of main reasons troops mourn so heavily when they lose a unit mate. They can’t help but feel responsible. You can always identify a strong team by how, who and what they mourn over.

    2. It changes everything when your focus is not on you, but on being a successful team. I’ve watched so many people be islands, until that’s all you have. Islands with no bridges. 🙂

  3. Hey Chris! Welcome back. You may not want to read this, but I’m not a sports fan. I have a hard time understanding how it all works. However, I enjoy all the inspirational sports movies, because they teach so many compelling life lessons. I recently watched Forever Strong, the movie about the Highland Rugby team led by Larry Gelwix. He taught his players how to succeed in rugby and excel in life. Favorite quotes: “It doesn’t matter WHO scores, it matters that WE score”, “I want you to be forever strong on the field, so you will be forever strong off the field.”

    If we all think and act that way, we’ll have winning teams and we ‘ll be helping others score in all areas of life. Thanks for the great post!!

  4. Welcome back, Chris, and thanks for telling this story. Everything about football is yucky to me, so I never would have learned this anywhere else. (And my husband was just flattened by the 49ers defeat.)

    1. It’s good to be back! At least with one. 🙂 And yeah, it was a tough loss. But the Beatrice seen them play in over a decade. For the first time in a long time, I look forward to next season.

  5. Hi Chris! That’s true. Sports always teach us great life lessons/ management lessons. As Stephen R Covey puts in his book, there can be always a possibility of ‘win-win situation’ in any given circumstance. It all begins with the right mindset and right perspective in us.

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