West Virginia’s football team lost a gift-wrapped part in the B.C.S. National Championship Game thanks to a loss to Pittsburgh. The No. 2 ranked team was so heavily favoured that the combined score of both teams didn’t equal the spread. The Fiesta Bowl is a big deal but is nothing compared to a championship. What could Mountaineers have done to win the game? Could an extra practiced have been held, an additional weight training session scheduled, or more coaches’ meetings extended?
Andre Agassi lost the 1989 French Open final to Andrés Gómez and was haunted by the loss until his 1992 Wimbledon title – or perhaps until he truly self-actualized himself in 1994. Nevertheless, the prodigy’s loss to the Ecuadorian veteran remains a blemish that shouldn’t have happened and can’t be undone.
Should an athlete sacrifice his youth to train? Should a coach stay in his office until part four in the morning the night before games? Should participants pour everything they have into sport? Often not. Fundamentally, the result comes down to talent (physical, mental, psychological) and if that can’t be realistically improved, don’t bother, watch a Jean-Luc Godard film, and live a well-rounded life.
When moving higher up the laurel-covered spire, athletes and coaches yearn to be champions. Winning is the ideal but the test remains something to be reveled in. But if a team like West Virginia or an athlete like Agassi didn’t devote themselves as much to practice and work as entirely as they could have than the flame within their soul can destroy them, irrespective of the glamours achieved. Never ignore self-actualization while trying to win because the former is transferable to success in life but the latter is nothing more than a means to an end.