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I was at a tournament over the weekend and it got me thinking some old thoughts. With so many competitors and so few medals up for grabs it really takes a lot to win. But who really is the winner? Often it is not the person who takes the gold. What do I mean by this?

I find that the true winner is determined after an event such as this.

Some entrants may feel despondent after their tournament performance. They may not have measured up to the picture in their heads. Some may have gone in on a hope and a prayer and been disappointed when things did not go their way. Some may have had delusions of grandeur about their current ability. It is common for me to see tears and heartbreak at a tournament – from both adults and kids. The feeling is over-whelming and the defeatist attitude takes over. “What’s the point? I’m useless! I’m giving up.”

The Real Winner-win diceOn the other side of the coin – the “winner” of the tournament may get a big head, thinking that he is absolutely fantastic and that he doesn’t need anybody else. He gloats about his victory. He gains delusions about his current ability. The feeling is over-whelming and the egotistical attitude takes over. “What’s the point? I’m better than everybody else.”

Tournaments can bring out ultimate highs and lows for people. It is how they deal with these highs and lows that determine who the true winners are. The real winners are determined after the fight – when the glitz and the glamour and the lights have faded.

The Real Winner-sparring

A winner does not wallow in self-pity. Nor does he sit on a thrown of clouds. A winner has no ill feeling towards other competitors or fellow students, only the need for improvement and a realization that it is through other students, competitors and training that improvement is possible. A winner wants to improve his game, even if he “won” a gold medal. The winner is the guy that keeps on going towards his goal no matter what is thrown his way. The winner is the guy who gets back to training – whether on the feeling of a high or a low. A winner is driven to put in more. He learns from his experience and wants gain. He is not despondent or arrogant. He does not give up. He will not be deterred – he keeps his dreams alive and will keep on going after them.