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There are blessings in defeat!

By TOM LILLY: OCS President

In nearly every form of competition, the representatives of the winning team always react the same way. The last out of the World Series and the last seconds on the clock of the Super Bowl look the same every single year for the winning team.  From athletic competitions to band competitions, and all the other competitions Catholic schools sponsor, the school community wants our children to all feel the euphoria of seeing their hard work succeed and publicly acknowledged. There’s nothing wrong with that. There is nothing harder on a parent than to watch their hard-working, dedicated child apparently “fail” in their goals, or even come to the realization they don’t have the same skill level or a gift in a certain area of life that’s not going to be acknowledged. But that’s just part of growing mature in faith. Sometimes you give life everything you’ve got and there’s a disappointing outcome. How we respond to defeat reveals more about the real application of our faith life and how we respond to the shot going in at the buzzer. That’s why years ago I started watching teams (players and coaches) on the losing side of the field instead of the winning side of the field. You learn a lot more that way.

This same line of thinking can be extended to how adults react as well.

Connecting everything to faith is how we can be significantly different in the Owensboro Catholic School System. Our faith should be represented in EVERY area of our life. It’s a lot easier being holy in church on Sunday than on the losing end of a competition. I don’t have my head in the sand. I know sometimes we DON’T always represent our faith well on ball fields and in competition. We’re all still human beings. But I’m so proud of how hard our coaches, parents, and staff are trying to teach students that there are many blessings in victory AND in defeat. The community becomes more important to middle school and high school students, already struggling to find their place. But it’s such a blessing to see how hard our Catholic schools coaches and teachers work to build something more important in the community than JUST a big win. Last year Principal Settles interviewed the exiting senior class, one at a time throughout the year, each one said they had at least one adult in the building they felt like they could turn to. Every role is important in this community. Our coaches are also trying to build that same community atmosphere. It’s not just the best way to maximize a student’s potential, but it’s also the best way to maximize a student’s future potential.

Losing hurts. Time heals. But the role model of our schools left us an invaluable lesson on that cross. The losses teach us so much more about life. Losing can lead to a much greater victory for us down the road if we learn from it, and we learn to put it in perspective. After the sting of last Friday, it was so uplifting to see coaches, parents, and even the students themselves put an extraordinary effort into responding to their opponent with class, dignity, and respect.

I am so thankful for all of you during this season for the many ways you make Owensboro Catholic Schools such a winning organization. The hard work. The sacrifice. The commitment to excellence. The accountability. During this season of joyful anticipation, we have many reasons to be thankful for each other and for this Catholic community that works so hard to take care of each other, even when we lose!