Suffering from terminal spinal cancer at the age or 47, former North Carolina State
basketball coach Jim Valvano spoke with a reporter earlier this year. He looked back on
his life and told a story about himself as a 23-year-old coach of a small college team.
"Why is winning so important to you?" the players asked Valvano.
"Because the final score defines you," he said, "You lose, ergo, you're
a loser. You win, ergo, you're a winner."
"No," the players insisted. "Participation is what matters. Trying your
best, regardless of whether you win or lose -- that's what defines you."
It took 24 more years of living. It took the coach bolting up from the mattress three
or four times a night with his T-shirt soaked with sweat and his teeth rattling from the
fever chill of chemotherapy and the terror of seeing himself die repeatedly in his dreams.
It took all that for him to say it: "Those kids were right. It's effort, not result.
It's trying. God, what a great human being I could have been if I'd had this awareness
Gary Smith in Sports Illustrated, quoted in Reader's Digest.
If the law is on your side, argue the law. If the facts are on your side, argue the facts. If neither the law or the facts are
on your side, defame your opponent every way possible.
A winner says, "Lets find out." A loser says, "Nobody knows."
When a winner makes a mistake, he says, "I was wrong"; when a loser makes a mistake, he says, "It wasn't my fault."
A winner isn't nearly as afraid of losing, as a loser is secretly afraid of winning.
A winner works harder than a loser and has more time; a loser is always "too busy" to do what is necessary.
A winner goes through a problem; a loser goes around it, and never gets past it.
A winner makes commitments; a loser makes promises.
A winner says, "I'm good, but not as good as I ought to be"; a loser says, "I'm not as bad as a lot of other people."
A winner listens; a loser just waits until it's his turn to talk.
A winner respects those who are superior to him and tries to learn from them; a loser resents those who are superior to him,
and tries to find chinks in their armor.
A winner explains; a loser explains away.
A winner feels responsible for more than his job; a loser says, "I only work here."
A winner says, "There ought to be a better way to do it"; a loser says, "That's the way it's always been done here."
A winner paces himself; a loser has only two speeds--hysterical and lethargic.