Yes, losing is upsetting, but with the right mindset, it could actually help you grow as an athlete

By Klyde Manansala | Lead photo by Javier Lobregat

In sports, winning is the main objective.

Winning makes you feel the best, accomplished, and the strongest but oftentimes, it makes an athlete feel complacent. They become overconfident to the point that they rely too much on their abilities, as if there’s no point to improve. Yet the idea of being “good enough” shouldn’t exist.

The athletes we look up to did not reap the fruits of their hard work in a night. They all went through tough tasks and failures before they met success. Here are some notable athletes that prove the importance of losing in life.

Shaun Livingston, Two-time NBA champion

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Before becoming a two-time NBA champion, Shaun Livingston was once a player whom everyone turned their backs on after suffering a career-ending injury during a game between the Los Angeles Clippers and Charlotte Bobcats (now Charlotte Hornets) on February 26, 2007.

Livingston was the fourth pick of the 2004 draft and was regarded as one of the picks who will rise into the upper echelons of basketball before an unlucky break of heartbreaking proportions happened. On his third season, the lanky point guard awkwardly landed on the floor after missing a lay-up against the Bobcats, dislocating his left knee cap, breaking his left leg, and tearing his anterior cruciate ligament, posterior cruciate ligament, and lateral meniscus. Basically, his whole left leg was destroyed.

After 16 months of recovery and rehabilitation, the 21-year old came back to prove himself again but the Clippers opted not to re-sign him. Doubts on his physical health and condition circulated around the league as teams considered him a second option while fans added him to the list of wasted talents.

On his third season, the Shaun Livingston awkwardly landed on the floor after missing a lay-up against the Bobcats, dislocating his left knee cap, breaking his left leg, and tearing his anterior cruciate ligament, posterior cruciate ligament, and lateral meniscus. Basically, his whole left leg was destroyed

Livingston’s career turn into a rollercoaster ride, playing with nine NBA teams and getting waived four times. It wasn’t until his breakaway season with the Brooklyn Nets in the 2013-2014 NBA season that the Golden State Warriors took notice.

Despite not having reliable three-point shooting in his arsenal, the Warriors acquired Livingston in July 2014 because of his ability to play multiple positions, proving to be a great back-up point guard for two-time MVP Stephen Curry. Now, Livingston serves as a key player for the Warriors as he helped them reach their 4th straight NBA Finals on his 12th year in the league.

Livingston’s career may have turned into a different path, but he found a way to make something out of what’s left for him. “As I was starting to come back into the NBA, made a comeback and did better, I felt my purpose was to inspire people to get through hard times and struggle,” Livingston said in his interview with The Undefeated.

Nick Baldwin, 2018 Ironman Philippines champion

The moment Nick Baldwin crossed the finish line at Ironman Philippines on June 3, he knew it was going to be a lot of firsts not just for him but also his country.

Aside from being the first winner of the first full Ironman race in the Philippines, the Seychelles native also attained his very first win in a triathlon event after six long years of persistence, patience, and hard work.

“It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life, and to finally get here after many, many failures and disappointments is just great,” says Baldwin

Baldwin was put through a hard test after he went neck-and-neck with veteran triathlete and 12-time Ironman New Zealand champion Cameron Brown in the final stretch of the 42-kilometer run. “It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life, and to finally get here after many, many failures and disappointments is just great,” says Baldwin.

Just like a normal champion, the 30-year old triathlete also went through a lot of shortcomings before being hailed as his home country’s most accomplished athlete. It may have taken six years for Baldwin to bag his first medal, but in the end, those six hard years helped Baldwin claim his first race.

Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings, multiple PBA championship titleholders

When it comes to Philippine basketball, everyone is aware of Ginebra and their never-say-die attitude in the court. The 39-year old team is the most well-known basketball team in Asia because of certain reasons.

The Ginebra Kings currently holds a 1-5 win-loss card in this year’s Commissioner’s Cup, and they’re dead deep down at the bottom of the standings, just one win ahead of the winless Blackwater Elite.

It’s not normal for any fan to see the Gin Kings struggle this hard under the PBA’s winningest coach, Tim Cone. Their chances of making it to the final eight seem impossible, but don’t sleep on them. They’ve been on the brink of elimination numerous times. Before achieving their first back-to-back titles in 2016 and 2017, Ginebra suffered an eight-year championship drought. They were once a mediocre team who mostly found themselves in a do-or-die match between tougher teams with tougher line-ups. Those eight long years of suffering were full of disappointments, shuffling of players, changes in coaching staff, and heartbreaking losses in finals before they discovered their true potential.

Justin Brownlee, their longtime import, was also instrumental as he delivered the game-winning long bomb against the Meralco Bolts at the Governor’s Cup last year, ending Ginebra’s title drought. A year after that, Ginebra and Meralco faced each other again in a rematch in which the Gin Kings outlasted the Bolts to defend their title.

Ginebra’s last two championships revived the dying never-say-die attitude of the team and the strong bond shared between the players and the die-hard fans.