I arrived at Cloverdale Ball Park’s Diamond 3 late Sunday morning, just as my team finished their game.
It was the first game I missed this season. I couldn’t make it because my wife and I stayed overnight at the River Rock Casino, which hosted the 2017 Ma Murray provincial journalism awards the night before.
Feeling a bit ragged from the night’s festivities, I was nonetheless in a great mood. The sun was shining at the ball park (for once) and the smell of barbecued hot dogs filled the air.
My team, the Giants, were gathering in right field for their post-game meeting.
I walked onto the field and headed in their direction to join them. We were 1-6 but I had a good feeling. We needed a win and I thought this was the morning it would happen.
This was a winning weekend, after all. The night before, staff members at the Now-Leader picked up five awards, two of which were mine. Plus, my wife had some luck at the casino after the awards ceremony.
Wanting the momentum to continue, I waited for someone on the team to yell out, “We won, coach!”
But as I got closer, the looks on some of my players’ faces told me no such exclamation was coming.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“We’re tired of losing, coach,” replied one young Giant, whose pants and jersey were covered with dirt.
“Yeah, losing sucks,” said another, as several heads nodded in agreement.
Before I dispensed my words of wisdom – which undoubtedly they will remember for the rest of their lives (ahem) –
I thought about a CBS story I read online a few years ago.
It was the day of the Super Bowl and the article was about the psychology of winning.
It quoted Dublin psychology professor Ian Robertson as saying, “Winning’s probably the single most important thing in shaping people’s lives.”
Robertson wrote a book called “The Winner Effect,” where he argues the reason it’s so much fun to win is largely chemical.
“Winning increases testosterone, which in turn increases the chemical messenger dopamine, and that dopamine hits the reward network in the brain, which makes us feel better.”
He says not only does winning feel better – it also seems to let us live a little longer.
It turns out Nobel Prize winners outlive the also-brilliant Nobel nominees by roughly two years, the CBS article pointed out. Baseball players who make it into the Hall of Fame have a couple of years on players who are turned away. In Hollywood, Academy Award-winners live, on average, four years longer than other actors.
But I wasn’t going to tell that to my young Giants. Rather, I dug deep into my bag of old coach clichés and let loose.
All it takes is all you got.
Leave it all out on the field.
Attitude is everything.
I finished with something to the effect of, “All I care about is seeing you guys out here giving it your best, being good teammates and most importantly, having fun.”
I thought my little speech resonated – until I saw my son turn to a few of his teammates.
“Well, that was cheesy,” he said.
Well, it looks like someone will be riding pine during our next game.
Payback – it’s almost as much fun as winning.
Beau Simpson is a volunteer coach with Cloverdale Minor Baseball and is editor of the Surrey Now-Leader. He can be reached at email@example.com