When you’re the underdog…

So this weekend two sporting teams I follow are attempting to do something very special but very difficult.

Tomorrow morning the Irish rugby team are trying to beat the best team in the world to reach the semi-final of the World Cup for the first time ever.

And on Sunday the Coolera-Strandhill senior men’s football team are attempting to win only their second Sligo championship in over 100 years by beating the current 3-in-a-row champions – Tourlestrane. The man on my right in the below pic (taken 8 years ago) is John McPartland, the current manager of the team.

If you’re looking from the outside, it’s unlikely that either will win. But I know that inside each camp there will be huge belief that the favourites can be toppled and the underdog can have their day.

But what if you’re a player on either of these teams and you don’t win? Possibly your team played to its max but the other team were just better on the day. Perhaps you had a stormer yourself but some of your team-mates had off days. Or maybe you prepared really well, felt you were ready to have a big game but it just didn’t happen for you on the day. Every sportsman has had games like that. Every musician has had gigs like that.

So be careful about how you define success. Especially if you’re on a team that doesn’t win that often. If it’s somehow dependent on the performance of others you may end up ‘failing’ despite being at your best. And that can be confusing.