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Win the next one

POSTED: January 1, 2014 12:00 p.m.

Something I never tire of hearing coaches say is, "We’re going to go out there and win the next one."

If you listen to coaches long enough, odds are you’ll hear them use that phrase a good many times. I know I’ve heard football coaches say it, I’ve heard basketball coaches say it and I’ve heard softball coaches say it.

Once the game is over, their entire thought process is dedicated to winning the next one.

That doesn’t just come after a losing game, either. Even coaches no more than a few minutes off of a win will say the same thing. Their goal is to win the next one.

To most of us, that seems silly. Why not let yourself enjoy the win? You earned it, after all. Celebrate it!

People make fun of Nick Saban because the last two years after winning the college football national championship, he said he would let his team and his staff take 48 hours to celebrate the win. To him, winning the championship was just another game. Excellence requires moving on and forgetting victory, focusing on the next victory ahead.

The same can be said after a loss, too. Most of us feel like losing gives us the right to wallow and sulk for a little bit, at least, before we get back to work on the next game ahead.

Well guess what, folks. It’s the New Year.

Why don’t you sit up and take notice that this is your chance to win the next one?

Was your 2013 pretty awful? That’s okay. Win the next one.

Was your 2013 the best year ever? I know mine was pretty great. I got married and I bought a dog, but that’s not enough to rest my laurels on.

It’s not like my wife or my dog were liable to just disappear after the clock hit midnight, were they? There’s still plenty of life to go out and tackle.

You know what happens when a team spends too much time focusing on the last game and not the one at hand? They aren’t prepared. They’re not ready for the new challenges of a new opponent.

It’s a new year, everybody. It’s a new opponent we have to face. We got through 2013, one way or another. Whether you feel like a winner with a chicken dinner or you feel beaten and bruised is almost inconsequential. This is your chance to face a new year and a new day with gusto!

Win the next one.

I may not know what your last 365 days have held. I’m sure there were great moments of joy and piteous moments of despair. I’m not asking you to forget them or to ignore them. Lessons of the past are great teachers.

If we’re going to talk about coach-speak, then we have to acknowledge how often coaches talk about learning important lessons from the last game, and especially learning from losses.

All I am suggesting is that maybe, just maybe, you should be careful not to let whatever happened last year from letting you focus on going out and doing everything you can to have a winning 2014.

I hope you can have that kind of attitude about your 2014. I hope you can take a look at what’s on your plate right now (probably black eyed peas and collard greens) and resolve to do the best you can with it.

Whatever your plans are for the new year ahead, please do me a favor and look ahead towards it with the best eye you can.

Go out there and win the next one, everybody.



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