by Rachel Slaton, Associate Camp Director
At 6 Points Sports Academy we don’t shy away from talking about winners and losers. We celebrate and embrace the competitive spirit of our athletes and coaches because that is what makes this a place unlike any other.
On the first night of camp, we talk about what it means to be a kehilla kedosha (holy community). The expectation we have of each other is that everyday we show up and give 100% of what we have on the court, in the dorm, with our friends, our coaches and teammates.
But we also know that giving everything we have means taking a risk. It’s easy, in retrospect, to put it all on the line, leave it all on the court when you know you will win. But the most important lesson we can teach our campers is how to lose. How to give, without reservation, everything you have knowing that you might not win … and to truly believe that the effort was worth it, no matter the score at the end of the game.
No one likes to lose. In fact, I would venture to say that there is no one in the world that hates losing more than the athletes and coaches at 6 Points Sports Academy. That’s what I love about being in a community of like-minded, Jewish athletes: we get each other. Over the past 4 years, I have witnessed 11 sets of Maccabiah Captains (soon to be 12!) lose what feels like the most important competition of their lives. The pain of loss, the tears of exhaustion, frustration and heartache are real. To pour your heart and soul into something only to come up short is awful. And yet, in that moment, we see the most inspiring examples of our values playing out in our athletes’ lives.
Captains who have gone toe to toe with each other in everything from “rock-paper-scissors” to a half-court shot, embrace each other with empathy because we all know the heartbreak of defeat. Friends and teammates who, for 24 hrs of Maccabiah, are bitter rivals, give high fives, pats on the back or simply put their arms around each other during siyum (closing circle). This happens because we know that losing is part of life and we give all that we have anyway.
Our focus this summer is Kaizen, which means continuous improvement. Growth is not something that comes without struggle. In fact, the two are mutually exclusive. Without pain, without disappointment we’ll never know what we’re capable of achieving. At 6 Points Sports Academy, not everyone is a winner and that’s ok.
“Courage is not the absence of fear; it is the mastery of it.” – Bruce Lee