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Wins and Losses, Part 2


This year I had several people opt to leave my team so that they could join a more competitive team instead. I guess I can’t blame them for that, because most of the players on my 4.0 team are rated 3.5. Which is not a good thing if your goal is to win. But I do have a greater appreciation for the people who play on my teams because they care more about having fun than they do about winning.

Don’t get me wrong; I want to win. I’ll chase every ball down and risk throwing up on the court if I have to in order to win the point. It’s just that, at the end of the day, going out to eat with my friends afterwards is just as much fun as winning. And I’m not willing to kick people off my team just because they lose. Hell, I’d be the first person to get the boot if that were the case.

Still, at the beginning of the year, I decided I was going to focus more on winning. I was going to try to have more confidence in my game. Focus more on my strengths. Tell myself I’m a good player and see what happens.

I’m not sure it’s going so well. I don’t think I’m winning any more than I did last year, but I curse at myself more often, and more loudly, on the court. And I’m a lot harder on myself. And I’m more pissed off when I lose.

Perhaps this wasn’t such a good idea after all.

Despite my increasingly bad attitude, I never get upset when my teammates lose. In fact, if the match was close, I count their loss as a win. Like the other night we lost 1-4, but when I wrote up the summary, I wrote it as though we had won 3-2, since 2 of the losses were in the tiebreak. When one of my teammates commented on how positive I was, I thought, well it’s easy to be positive when you win.

But then I remembered that we lost.

In a previous post I brought up the debate of whether it’s better to love winning or to hate losing. Federer plays because he loves winning. Nadal plays because he hates losing. Things have worked out pretty well for both of them, so I guess you can’t go wrong with either approach.

But I’m not sure either of these statements accurately reflects why I play. I love trying to get better. I love trying to win. I love having a way to exercise that doesn’t involve torturously counting every second while I’m on a machine. I love having something that allows me to forget what a terrible day I’m having and focus solely on hitting the ball. I love practicing and I love competition. I love cute outfits and friendship and food.

And I can enjoy all of these things, regardless of whether I win or lose. I guess when it comes down to it, I really just love playing.

About Christy Barongan

I didn't know it at the time, but I wanted to be a psychologist so that I could figure out how to be normal. I think many people come to counseling for the same reason. What I've come to learn is that feeling good about myself is not about trying to be normal. It's about trying to be me. But it's a constant struggle for me, just like it is for everyone else. So I thought I would approach this task with openness and honesty and use myself as an example for how to practice self-acceptance.

14 responses »

  1. Thanks Christy I needed to hear that!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You’re a great Captain and I love playing on your teams. Win or lose the match, I feel like a winner around friends!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Are you playing USTA? I thought only 25% of the team could be rated lower. Maybe things have changed. I haven’t played competitive tennis for two years.
    I’m a firm believer in not giving up. In fact a lot of my wins, I was down 5-0 or 5-1. One of the reasons so many lose in tie break is pressure. The trick is learning to relax your mind in stressful situations. Federer beats himself now that he’s lost confidence. What I do? Visualize winning. Watch the ball hit the racket. I don’t move while hitting. And when I’m really nervous, I take even deep breaths in and out to get rid of the panic. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great. I loved this. It’s not about winning or losing,but being willing to play.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great Post Christy! You will probably fluctuate between those two poles all the time for yourself and that’s ok. I think it’s great though that you are always so positive to the other team mates. I wonder what you would have said to me back in the day. I always seemed to lower or raise my game depending on my opponents ability. Was very frustrating! Haven’t played in years (decades really). I wish I kept it up. Keep enjoying it and don’t let it go! Btw, my dad is 86 and still plays!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Playing for the fun of it is the only way to go. I coach a soccer team of 16 year-old boys, and if they aren’t having fun they don’t play well. I’ve made a conscious effort to focus less on winning or losing this year, and more on positive reinforcement, and they are playing much better than before (and having more fun).

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I wish more people were like you! I think over-competitiveness ruins the fun of playing anything.

    Liked by 1 person


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