There’s a load of differences between winning and losing, many of which go far beyond the court for athletes playing a team sport like beach volleyball; in any sport really.
I’ve been fortunate enough to be coached by many admirable people throughout my career. I’ve also learned through observation from many world-class players. One lesson that I’ve come to understand, as I’ve grown older, is to take time after any big loss; especially when you’re an intense and extremely self-demanding athlete such as myself. Taking time to reflect on a match can make the difference between a classic foot-in-mouth situation and a levelheaded discussion with your partner, team, coach, family, whoever (I’ve experienced all of the above.)
For those of you who closely follow our results you’ll know that Christian and I finished 33rd in Xiamen, China. This is the first time in my FIVB career that I’ve been on the losing side of an “upset victory” – there are pros and cons to that, the pro being the fact I was ranked high enough to be “upset” – the con being the whole losing part of it, obviously. Thinking back to that game is still unsettling…
After this loss I took some time to let it all sink in before addressing anything from the game (a few yells and the kick of a ball after the game may have helped, too…) It’s games like this that make sport so entertaining, upsets happen all the time. Imagine how boring sport would be if the highest seed always won. I can’t picture many spectators at an event like that – or at least this is what I’ve told myself to make me feel slightly better, haha.
Anyways, after a few pretty disheartening hours following our match, I was alone in our hotel room when the phone rang. I answered, it was Christian, “hey, do you remember the color of the taxi we took to the courts?”
“Uh, no… purple maybe” I replied, confused as to why he was asking.
It turns out his phone had fallen out of his pocket en route to our match and he didn’t realize until we had returned to the hotel following our game. The worst.
Later that evening we were talking about the day and I admitted to him that when he called about his phone it made me feel a bit better as now I knew, after suffering such a tough loss, that he was indeed have a worse day than I was!
Does that make me a jerk? We both laughed at my honesty and started talking about happier things.
So that’s what China delivered. A lost qualification match and a lost iPhone 5, definitely not the best tournament for us but also not the last and definitely not the worst – although that was hard to believe at the time.
Up next is our Continental NORCECA Championships in Trinidad. Both Chaim/Ben and us will attend representing the Canadian men and try to claim gold for Canada against USA, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and others from our continental tour. China brought the final FIVB Grand Slam of the season; meanwhile the final FIVB event of the year is scheduled for Durban, South Africa in December. South Africa?!?