Upon Further Review | Teen Ink

Upon Further Review

April 6, 2008
By Anonymous

I know what it feels like to lose. It makes me feel inferior to my opponents and to the world. The pungent tang of failure lingers on my tongue and dispenses into my entire mouth. I try to swallow, but it is piercing when the contents being consumed are my hopes and missed opportunities. Segments of the arduous hours spent lifting weights, the echoes of my aching feet completing their daily exhausting dash on broken and jagged streets, and the incessant preparation of my mind and heart enabling me to perform to the best of my ability all collide in my head. After defeat, these moments seem so ruined, a figment of the past that despite my determined spirit, did not make a difference.
My teammates attempt to console me after those distressing moments of defeat with pats on the back and strained smiles. Their actions are artificial and empty, hallowed out by failure’s existence. I marvel at how defeat can have such a demoralizing impact upon me. I try to convince myself that hundreds of future opportunities will appear, but my surroundings are too insistent on the downbeat of defeat. I squint with tear-filled eyes to see the tree branches drooped languidly, frowning at my performance. I hear the brisk water of the stream freeze from the coldness that defeat endures. I ponder on how losing, something everyone must go through, is looked upon so disapprovingly.
I contemplate why these astringent and repulsive feelings are correlated with losing. On a daily occasion, loss engulfs me into its intimidating and daunting world. I realize the atmosphere that failure suffocates its victims with. Cringing at the thought of defeat, people believe it to be a terrible feeling to be associated with. To be labeled as one who does not seize the moment and capitalize on it frightens me. I feel hopeless and insecure, similar to a bug that senses the shadow of a sneaker about to pounce, or even humiliated that losing has reduced me to a report filed away and waiting to be shredded. Looking deeper, I find 6.7 billion files of that sort because everyone in the world has failed at something. What I do not understand is why do so many of those people live their lives allowing defeat to hang over them like a heavy yoke, preventing them from reaching their full potential. Why does losing cause that burden? Why do so many people including myself, allow failure to dictate their lives? No matter what I do, I will always encounter defeat. That is the way life is. Is it that important to take that loss and twist it into a positive? It baffles me that humanity knows defeat is inevitable, and yet it is still viewed as one of mankind’s greatest disappointments.

Once I have been defeated, whether it is dealing with sports or with life, I suffer from the fact that the whole grueling cycle must be repeated. I begin yet again to battle through brutal pain and psyche myself to be able to endure those maddening hours when all I ponder and pray about is how not to lose. I find it ironic that I hope so dearly not to lose when defeat is the reason I am working so hard. Still, I agonize over the possible outcome of peering in that winner’s circle, envious of the man that stands there with his chest out and his chin up. I fear that I will yet again taste that hideous flavor I have tasted so often. But as the cycle churns me through its stages, I feel a blazing fire scorching inside of my fatigued yet stronger body; a sensation not felt when I stand victorious. I find myself asking if it is a good thing to lose from time to time. Once I have smelt failure’s breath, am I more committed to earn that opportunity to respire victory’s rejuvenating oxygen? There is no doubt that we all want to thrive in life. Without failure, can success be possible?
I sit here today wondering if winning is truly the ultimate goal. I reflect upon past occurrences and inquire if failure was the only way to discover the mental and emotional strength and willpower I possess. Could a lost ballgame, a missed promotion, or a poor test score create triumphant people? By losing everyday, am I preparing for life’s struggles, hardships, and unpredictable elements that much sooner? Is the key to life staring into failure’s omnipresent eye and not blinking first?
In today’s world people want to win more than anything. Is winning a tangible measurement? Can only victories guide me through life? If people never lose, where do they acquire motivation from? I do not understand why defeat is such a scorned outcome. Why do so many individuals permit it to turn their outstretched hand reaching for the stars away and instead cause them to snatch a handful of bitterness? If failures are preparation for victory, why does society view defeat as having such a negative connotation?

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