He is a professional athlete, paid to perform to his potential and thereby gain victories for his team. The ultimate measure of a successful pro athlete is, properly, championships won. That is why Bill Russell of the Boston Celtics, with 11 NBA championships in his 13-year-career, is known as “The Ultimate Winner.”
In youth sports, the barometer is different. Rather than “wins on a scoreboard,” a more proper metric is “progression toward potential, as an individual and as a team.” When the process of improvement assumes precedence over the result of an arbitrary “scoreboard” victory, in most cases, a win arises as a natural by-product of the progression toward potential.
There is no shame in playing to potential and losing to a superior team. Likewise, there is no celebration in playing a shoddy game beneath potential even if you triumph in the win column. The real, lasting measurement of success is “did I play to maximum capability and in the process make my team better?” If the answer is affirmative, you are a winner, regardless of the scoreboard. Leave the pennant races and the obsession about championships to the pros, and keep your focus on reaching your potential.
Having said that … go Reds, beat the Cardinals!
From August 2010, http://raising-a-man.tumblr.com