Monday, April 27, 2015

Hug The Loser

I hate the word "loser."

I can't even say "losers side."  I prefer "one-loss side" when I talk about the left side of the brackets.

But I want to express how heartbreaking it is to lose.  And how you can help.

Two of my friends were playing each other at BCAPL Texas State in the women's singles division in the match for 4th place.  As I walked by several times, each player was playing good and smart.  It was a tight match.  One player is seasoned, the other kinda new and shy about competing.  But the shy player was playing her little heart out, as the seasoned player was playing her heart out, too. 

Eventually, the match would go hill-hill! 

I saw the seasoned girl win, and everyone was happy for her and congratulating her.

Then I did something kind of on instinct:  I walked right into the playing area and made a bee-line to the shy girl. 

I know how it feels to lose.  I know how it feels when everyone is talking to and congratulating your opponent while you are trying to hold it together and not feel worthless.

I walked right up to her, and gave her a HUGE hug.  It was literally only minutes after the match.  I held her tight and whispered, "I am SOOOO proud of you."

I didn't know how she would react, as we only see each other twice a year at state tourneys, but she held me back tightly fighting tears, and she confided and whispered in my ear, "I wanted that win so badly."

Even as I type this, I'm emotional. 

I could hear in her voice how heartbreaking the loss was for her; how much she wanted the win.  

I am glad I gave her that hug.  I am glad I recognized her for what she DID accomplish - getting to 4th in a really tough tournament.  Why?  Because she really did play her heart out and wanted the win badly, and it HURT that she lost.

Sometimes I feel like my biggest gift to pool is empathy and understanding.

I can't begin to express how horrible it feels to lose.  Sure, we've all been there and have experienced it.  But, it's more than we can put into words sometimes.  So, if you see someone who just lost in a big event, hug them or tell them how proud you are of them.  Sure they feel defeated, but I can guarantee you that you will be taking part of the sting away. 

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