What the Underdog Knows About Winning and Losing

She took a marker and wrote on the whiteboard: JCU 68  ONU 61  00:00, and then looked at her teammates.

“Every time you get discouraged, start to stress, or doubt that we are going to win this game, I want you to envision the message on this whiteboard.”

It was halftime, her underdog JCU team down only five points behind #15 team in the country for D3, and the captain of the team was willing her squad of David’s to take down Goliath. Coming into the game, JCU’s record was 5-17, and ONU’s was 20-2, but this didn’t deter her from manifesting a win, which included a big and bold declaration of what she believed would be the final score when the time clock showed double zeros.

Up to this point of a long and grueling season, a young team made up of eight freshman, two sophomores, three juniors and one senior swallowed the bitter pill of losing on a regular basis. However, the record was not indicative of the talent. Inexperience got the best of them most days.

Don’t we feel like this as moms sometimes? That our parenting record is not always indicative of the capabilities God gives us? The truth is we are always the underdog, too. We doubt our instincts and hone in on our failures, forgetting God gave us children as loaners to raise and nurture because He believes we are worthy and up for the task.

Inexperience is bound to get the best of us as moms as well. We learn as we go—also part of God’s grand plan. Although a manual on raising kids sure would be nice. Despite scaling the walls of Amazon and taking a deep dive into the dark web, I still haven’t found one. Looks like God wants us to take it on His holy word that He’s more than enough to get us through. All He asks is that we do our best, trusting Him for the lion’s share along the way.

Heavens to Betsy, what a relief! Especially in the mom gig. Because if I need to be perfecto in doling out the dictionary, or in recognizing not everything spins around my orbit (dang it!), or that assumptions make for ugly dinner guests, well then everyone around me I’m doomed. For the record, I have zero idea who Betsy is, but she must be a wise woman if the trajectory towards her is heavens away.

Doing our best sounds like an escape clause for winging it. Life, motherhood, eyeliner, everything. Or so a t-shirt says. But I agree with the maker of the shirt and I’m all for the escape clause. We don’t have a blueprint for how life will unfold, which the Creator of the multiverse could have easily whipped up considering the dirt and rib magic He pulled off in creating man and woman. But He didn’t. So, about all we can control is how we’ll react. Some days our best means our knee will jerk, and on other day’s giving our all means we’ll succumb to prayer, patience, and persistence; loving our self and allowing God to hope us forward.

Which is what the underdog JCU women’s basketball team has done all year: accepting the losing as part of the journey. Learning from their mistakes and continuing to believe their time would come. If a perfect record was the only measure of the girl’s worth, disillusion and defeat would have surely settled deep in their hearts. But these amazing young women never gave up, on themselves or each other.

The second half of the basketball game was a grind. A clear eyes, full heart, can’t lose mentality dictated play until the final buzzer sounded: JCU 68  ONU 66  00:00. Sweet victory. The captain, my courageous baby girl, spot on to the digit with her prediction in the win column.

The basketball team did their best all season, with not much to show for the effort on the standings sheets. But their tenacity to continue doing so resulted in a stunning upset; a magical slingshot moment where the underdog took down the giant.

My daughter willed her team to a triumph, just like God wills us to succeed as moms. You can do it, momma. Just believe—the whispers we need to carry around in our heart.

Doing our best is good enough. Has to be. God says so. Let’s take His word for it.


Shelby Spear
Shelby Spearhttp://shelbyspear.com/
Shelby is a sappy soul whisperer, sarcasm aficionado, and pro-LOVE, Jesus adoring mom of 3 Millennials writing stuff & doing life with her hubby of 25 years. You can read her stories on her blog at shelbyspear.com, around the web, and in print at Guideposts. Shelby's new book, co-authored with Lisa Leshaw, is now available: How Are You Feeling, Momma? (You don't need to say, "I'm fine.")

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