On Faith: Achieving good better than a victory

October 16, 2010|Tom Thorkelson

When I looked up "winning" on the computer, the individual most often quoted was Vince Lombardi. We are all aware of the legendary NFL coach's passion for winning. Who was it who said "show me a good loser and I'll show you a loser"?

I grew up in the 1930s and '40s, when winning was strongly promoted. As a businessman who employed scores of sales people, I tempered this by establishing "campaigns" rather than "contests." A campaign was designed to challenge oneself to surpass one's previous best. A contest was designed to create winners and losers.

I had a large family and attended countless Little League games. Today's parents add soccer to their responsibilities. We have seen coaches and parents attempting to instill in their children a "winning desire" — sometimes to the detriment of the participants. I am a believer in setting realistic and challenging goals and always being a competitor.


During a fund-raising dinner some time ago for a school that serves developmentally challenged children — the father of one of the students delivered an unforgettable message.

"Everything God does is supposedly done with perfection," he told the crowd. "Yet, my son, Sean, cannot learn or understand things as other children do. Where is God's plan reflected in my son?"

The audience was stilled by the query.

The father continued: "I believe that when God brings a child like Sean into the world, an opportunity to realize the divine plan presents itself. And it comes in the way people treat that child."

He then told this story:

Sean and his father had walked past a park where some boys Sean knew were playing baseball. Sean asked, "Do you think they will let me play?"

Sean's father knew the boys would not want him on their team, but that if his son would be allowed to play, even for only a few minutes, it could give him a much needed sense of belonging.

Daily Pilot Articles Daily Pilot Articles