Joseph Iregbu

Purpose Guy

What I Learned From Losing a Football Match

This past weekend, I lost a football match. OK, that’s a serious understatement. I suppose the only consolation was the fact it wasn’t this bad – click here to see what I mean. God bless Tahiti!

They almost spelled D-E-U-T-S-C-H-L-A-N-D!

Image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee

Image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee

A selection of my youths from three German cities (all amateurs I must say) played against a semi-pro team from our sister church from The Netherlands. We received a thorough beating – they came close to spelling D-E-U-T-S-C-H-L-A-N-D. Thank God they didn’t.

I remember saying to someone after the match:

My daughter CANNOT afford to know the result.”

You know why? I was supposed to safeguard the goalpost. Supposed to!

4 lessons from losing the game

I’ve had the weekend to analyze how we lost the game. It’s simple; we were amateurs. But after the game, God was pointing my attention to a few life lessons to draw from the experience:

  • Prepare for success: We came into the game for the fun. We didn’t prepare, despite knowing we were playing against a team that play as a team every week. My German lads have NEVER played together before. Your success cannot happen without adequate preparation.
  • You need a game plan: My team didn’t have a game plan. We kicked and chased the round leather ‘item’ all day. We didn’t have a plan. Do you have plan or goal for your life right now?
  • You need community: For a considerable time, we didn’t score. I soaked in all the goals on my end due to a non-existent defense (not making excuses). We didn’t play as a team. Eventually, the goals came for us but it was all too late to level. You need people to reach your goal in life – don’t burn the bridge.
  • Failure is ONLY an event: This is probably the most powerful lesson God taught me. After the game, we had more fun together, heard a great word from God and enjoyed an awesome food. The ‘pain’ of losing the match was forgotten (except I had to announce the presentation of the winning trophy to you know who). Failure doesn’t define you, it’s only an event.

Have you noticed how I still didn’t tell you the final score of the game? My daughter must not know; help me to remain her superhero by not asking.

Have you recently failed at something and learned great lessons from it? How do you respond to failure? Let me know your story.

About Joseph Iregbu

From a homeless, near-school-dropout to living a story worth telling. Purpose is my passion. What's your story?

6 Replies

  1. Good reminders, Joseph. I love that last one too…failure is only an event. I forget that sometimes.

  2. For me language learning can have a lot of failures in it. When I experience those moments it’s helpful for me to step back and take a look at the big picture, then I can see the overall success with a few failures along the way.

    1. We are right there with you. Learning German right now is not the most exciting experience but we encourage ourselves with the fact we are here on a purpose and continue the experience. Thanks for sharing, my friend.

  3. Your football experience sounds like my work softball team. We’ve been creamed all of our games. And yet it’s okay because the loss is just an event. Plus we’re out there having fun.

    1. What relief!!! I’m not alone.

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