Sometimes you lose.

When I was in high school, I coached boys football and basketball at my former junior high school. This was my first real job.

As a parent, I coached my boys’ soccer and basketball teams. I didn’t get paid for that; I was a volunteer.

I attended countless soccer, basketball, football, rowing, tennis games, matches, races, etc. I cheered for my boys’ teams.

I was never one of those parents who yelled at the refs. Even when they made a bad call.

My daughter played concert piano in junior high and high school. She attended an arts conservatory, once playing at Carnegie Hall during her senior year.

Between coaching and the boys and Bree, competitions were common.

As a coach, our teams won some. And we lost some.

As a parent, my children won some. And they lost some.

I taught my young players, and my young children to be good winners, and good losers.

Never would I allow poor sportsmanship, even if a ref made a bad call. Never did I allow complaining or whining the other team “cheated.” At the end of the game, win or lose, you look the other team in the eye, shake a hand, say “good game.”

What mattered more to me than the final “score,” was character.

Why? Becasue later on in life, all children need to know that things just don’t always turn out the way you want.

Sometimes you lose.

Life isn’t always fair.

Later in life, I competed for political office. I ran for United States Congress in 2018. And I lost. And my loss was public. I immediately called my primary opponent, the current Congressman who defeated me, Harley Rouda. We had breakfast a few weeks later. After Congressman Rouda was sworn in, I visited him at his office in Washington DC, congratulating him, even though he was in the “other party.”

I lost bad in the my first forray into poltitics. But I felt, for the sake of any of those players who still watch me with me (and some do), and, more important, my children, I must model good sportsmanship.

I wrote about How I Didn’t Win — But I’m certain I did. 

Some things in life are more important than “winning.” In fact, winning, at the end of the day, is about doing your very best, humility, and character — not some number on a screen.

I wish more parents felt this way. I wish more voters did, too.

Sometimes you lose.