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Arianne Brown: Winning isn't everything, except when you're always losing
Arianne Brown's son Ace (right) raises his hand in triumph over his head after winning the Sparta Cup Championship. - photo by Arianne Brown
As I stood at the awards ceremony for a recent soccer tournament, I watched as my 9-year-old son, Ace, and his team were presented with first-place medals for a dominating win over the second place team. The following two weeks, Ace and my 8-year-old, Aussie, would each have another opportunity to stand at the podium to receive rewards and accolades for wins at other tournaments.

These were all fun and exciting experiences for my boys as well as our family, and there was not a louder cheerleader than my 12-year-old son Anderson.

After all, it was Anderson who got our family started in this whole soccer lifestyle when we couldnt help but sign him up for city league after unsuccessfully trying to pry his soccer ball from the grip of his strong, natural left foot.

It has been Anderson who wakes his brothers up early in the morning to get their touches in and to play World Cup soccer in the backyard. It is he who spends much of his extra time watching the pros play as he analyzes every move. It is he who has motivational quotes on his wall, including one he wrote that reads, If I dont die today, I will be the greatest soccer player in the world, giving himself no excuses for failure.

And, just like his brothers, he has all the talent in the world and is a joy to watch as he skillfully and tactfully moves along the field, creating plays that only a seasoned player would do.

However, unlike his brothers, success has not come so easily for him.

Over the years, losses have been abundant while wins have been sparse. We have spent countless hours cheering on his team to well-fought losses, then doing all we could to buoy Anderson up on the drives home, telling him that age-old adage that winning isnt everything.

While we believed every word we told him, there is an exception to every rule: Winning isnt everything, except when youre always losing. We knew that Anderson was tired of losing and needed, and deserved, to see the success he had worked so hard for.

So, we made the difficult decision to leave his old team to find one with a success record; one that would possibly give Anderson that chance to see the benefits of his daily dedication.

While his season has yet to begin, we are very hopeful that he will soon have a chance to stand at a podium where he, too, will have a medal placed around his neck.

And as his mother, I look forward to the day when I can watch his younger brothers cheer him on as loudly as he has them.
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