Listening to a recent podcast, I got to hear Cat Osterman talk about why “winning” an Olympic silver medal was such a disappointment. For most of us, the idea of coming home with a silver would seem like an amazing accomplishment! The idea of being second-best seems like a pretty good consolation prize to most of us.
What Cat explained that really hit home, though, was something I had never thought about. You don’t “win” the silver, you really lose the gold! Think about that statement for a second. When you are that close to winning the Olympics, or really any tournament for that matter, you can try to talk yourself into thinking that a lot of other people or teams would be really happy to finish second, right? Second has to be better than anywhere behind second, correct? Well…
When you are that close to a championship the idea of finishing second can be a very bitter pill to swallow. We’ve all been in that position and I think finding the balance between the disappointment of not winning with the sense of accomplishment of getting so close to the top is a real skill that would serve us all very well. We all want to win, no doubt, but hopefully there are some things that happen along the way that tell us we are making progress and improving as a team or player.
Cat Osterman is one of the greatest players to ever play this game. One of the reasons she is so accomplished is her passion and drive. We will get to see her represent the USA in the Olympics this summer and we’ll all be cheering like crazy for her to get the gold.
In one of my favorite movies, Ricky Bobby, lives his life by the mantra of “if you ain’t first, you’re last” for most of his life until he comes to realize that as long as he did his best and had family who loved him, he was a success. My guess is that all of our Olympians already know what Ricky had to learn, but we’ll all still be hoping they don’t have to!