Ithaca Blog

Friday, October 20, 2006

Clarifying Lombardi

New York partisans are dour today, as the baseball season has officially ended for the two home teams, the Yankees and the Mets, who shared the best record in the majors this year, but failed to advance to the World Series.

Legendary football coach Vince Lombardi (famous for his championships with Green Bay, but first a coach at Fordham University in the Bronx, and born in Brooklyn) once said, "Winning isn't everything. It's the only thing."

That might have sounded stirring and bold once, and maybe slightly boorish today. But actually Lombardi was right - if you consider the meaning of winning.

He didn't say "Outscoring your opponent is the only thing." He said winning.

Winning doesn't mean scoring points in a game. Winning means working towards goals, taking pride in your efforts, and satisfaction in your achievements, large and small.

You can't let failure to meet your goals obscure what you did on the way. That is losing. That's what Lombardi was trying to banish. Not a deficit of points on a scoreboard.

Hopefully it is obvious, for those not interested in sports (if anyone not interested in sports is reading a piece obstensibly about Vince Lombardi), it's not just about sports. It's least about sports. Like all the world, these fields are merely stages.

Meanwhile, for those of you who enjoy the stages these lessons are presented on, it is gloomy in New York. But take heart in possibilities, and shift your delight tonight to something else fun with a friend or a loved one.

And, of course: wait til next year.

Stephen "Red" Burke
for Ithaca Blog

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