My son and his friends are playing for the championship of their basketball program today. It also happens to be a Sunday, and the game isn't until 12:30. So, of course, we are going to church first.
My son: "I'm going to ask my entire church class to pray for us to win today. The Bible says if more than two people ask for something, it'll come true."
While I won't go into what I said to point out his misunderstanding of the Bible, it did get me thinking. I would love to say, "Kids say the darndest things," with an eye roll. But the truth is that I had done the same thing when I first became a coach's wife.
When I was new to this lifestyle, I would pray that every game ended in a win. That doesn't seem too ridiculous to most people because that is how most judge success. While I don't disagree with that definition, and I still 100% want every single game to end with a W, somewhere along our journey, I stopped praying for wins.
Maybe it was because our first move was forced on us after we did so well. The head coach left to take a better job at his dream school (and therefore, our job was no longer secure). All those wins actually caused us to leave a job and a place before we wanted to.
Maybe it was because our second move was forced on us after "not doing good enough," and the head coach was fired (and therefore, our job was no longer secure.) Even though my coach was working for a legend in our sport with a proven track record who happened to be having a "down" year or two (and statistically speaking, that should be expected), all his wins (numbered in the hundreds) didn't protect him or us from having to leave a job and a place before we wanted to.
Or maybe it's because I got to watch my coach be an integral part of rebuilding a program from the ground up at our third school. It was a two steps forward, one-step backward process where losses and the tough road were just expected. The losses taught something important to everyone- players, coaches, staff, wives, etc. The wins did taste sweeter, but I realized that they didn't reveal anything about growth and development.
I have come to realize that wins don't tell the whole story and aren't the complete evaluation of your worth or impact.
(If I am being honest, I will admit that I've never prayed harder for a win than my coach's first game as a head coach. In my defense, that was more for confirmation that we made the right decision to leave a school and a town we loved without being forced to by the actions of others.)
What I do instead…
Now, I pray for the players to play to the best of their abilities and for the coaches to guide and instruct those players to the best of theirs.
And if we lose, then I wait patiently and hopefully to see how God will work it into our journey and the journey of those around us for His purposes and our betterment.
Side note: My son's team lost their championship game. They played their hearts out and did their best, but the other team was better. That is the nature of the game. Someone wins. But someone has to lose. If you only focus on winning, you will never get better. You will never grow from the challenges. You will never be able to enjoy the process or truly love the game. And I am so happy my son is learning that now while he's young, as opposed to how long it has taken me to figure it out.