If you are not a competitive person, you are going to read this blog post and probably identify with five percent or less of what I am about to say.
I, Coach Urgo, Am A Drug Addict
My drug of choice?
Winning. I am addicted, and I guess always have been.
I have been reflecting over the past few days as to what might be my earliest memory of winning or losing. My losing memory has got to be a race I was at as a kid and what led to my being diagnosed with “asthma”. I remember being in the lead or at least at the front of the pack and turning the corner and suddenly being passed by everyone. That feeling (I don’t remember being out of breath) of watching people pass me makes me type even a little harder as I continue this blog. Losing is the worst, it’s like having withdraws from winning.
There’s a difference in losing when you’re coaching, playing solo, or playing on a team. If I lose at something where it’s individual like golf or ping pong, I take it better than any other way of losing. I think it’s because I can quickly analyze what I did wrong and plan a way to fix it. Losing while playing on a team sucks. It sucks, because you have your feelings, but you also feel those feelings of your teammates as well. There also are many variables as to why you lost, which I would analyze in my head, and the rebuilding process can be longer and more mentally labor intensive.
Losing as a Coach is the worst.
I am not sure if the process of losing is worse or if the aftermath is, but they are both terrible. Watching your team fall short of winning is an experience that is almost indescribable. You want more than anything for your team to succeed, and yet there are very few tangible things you can do as a coach throughout the game to directly impact the outcome. Ultimately, it’s on your team to execute and it’s on you to keep them focused on those goals as much as possible. But, on those occasions where execution or effort level falls short and you can feel it standing there. It’s like being a child holding your favorite toy and slowly turning your hand and watching it fall and burn in a fire while there’s nothing you can do but stare until it’s all burned up.
You then spend the next few days processing the experience and going over the thousands of options and different things you can do to avoid this experience. This is where I am maturing as a coach. In the past after a loss there would be changes and tweaks and meetings. I think as I mature as a coach, I am growing confident in my message, confident in my players, and accepting that (especially in hockey), some nights you don’t have it. The trick is trying to find ways to minimize those cases and bottling the things that lead to wins.
Which leads me to winning.
This is my drug. There’s nothing better.
There’s nothing better than spending time either solo or as a group preparing for a competition, having a plan and executing it in a way that leads to victory. Victory meaning that at the end of the day, you or your team is better than the other one.
As a kid my earliest victories were in the neighborhood.
Tackle football in the back yard, whiffle ball, street hockey, H-O-R-S-E – you name it, I wanted to play it and I wanted to WIN. Epic games with walk off homers, last minute goals, crazy tackles… I love it. One of my favorite memories in high school was being on the varsity lacrosse team senior year (I didn’t really play much), but we beat a high school team which we hadn’t beaten in a while in overtime and had our first winning season in years. Just typing that put a smile on my face.
So, as you follow the Stevenson University ACHA DII Hockey Team (If you’re not, please do: @SUACHAHOCKEY) and you see we won, you know I am on cloud nine, high as well on winning. But if we lost, give me some space, because I am going through withdraws and probably in deep thought as to how I can get high (WIN) again.
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