The Patriots’ Super Bowl victory constituted a magnificent tableau of perseverance played out over four glorious hours last Sunday night. Given that the Patriots defeated the Falcons, they (and we, by extension) won, and the Falcons and their fans lost. But what if the Patriots were unable to triumph in overtime, let alone in the fourth quarter? Would anyone actually consider the team to not be a collection of winners?
Yes, the Pats would have lost the game, but that is only because sports dictates that someone wins and someone loses. Final outcomes of athletic events do not necessarily reflect “real life.” Indeed most of us live in a world that is not remotely so “black and white,” but instead one that is colored with shades of grey and laden with curve balls.
As such, the terms “winning” and “losing” do not necessarily describe our entire story. Vince Lombardi, now the second greatest football coach ever, once declared, “The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.” Hence, success is achieved by those who exhibit maximum effort, resiliency, genuineness and empathy. And as Franklin D. Roosevelt once stated, “Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.”
I suppose I am being a bit wistful as Lori and I head into college admissions season for my youngest daughter. No one wants their child to be rejected, ever. Hope springs eternal for Chloe and for all of our community’s children applying to schools this year. May each of you be able to enroll happily at the schools you wish to attend. But experience dictates that the road to victory is sometimes paved with unanticipated obstructions. Managing such impediments creates resilience, however, and hence, provides tools to achieve future happiness and success. In my book, you are all winners, no matter where you will be matriculating next year, even if such schools were not necessarily your first choice, and vice versa. And if you do not believe me, just ask Tom Brady, the overlooked and almost forgotten sixth round draft pick in the year 2000 for our New England Patriots.
Shabbat Shalom and all my best,