The Heart of a Champion

April 21, 2021

By Jeff Becraft

One of my greatest coaching moments in my life was in a basketball game with a team of 4th-6th grade girls that we lost… by 9 points.  Nine points.

Now, how in the world can a loss by 9 points be one of the greatest moments?  Because we lost to the best team in the league.  And it was only by 9 points.

They were waaaaayyyyy better than us.  They had the best two players in the league on their team.  They should have used us to mop up the floor.

Going into the last 5 minutes of the game, though, we were only behind by one point.  One point.  Against the best team in the league… that was waaaaayyyyy better than we were.  Sounds like a March Madness story.

What happened in the last 5 minutes was that one of their star players simply took over.  We didn’t have anyone on our roster that could stop her.  But for almost the entire game we had basically played dead even with the best team in the league.

When we walked off the court, I considered the game a victory.  Now, I am not a person that believes that we shouldn’t keep score, and everyone’s a winner (although I believe everyone has great value), and let’s not say who won the game.

At some point in life, we need to look a loss square in the face and decide what we are going to do about it and are we going to let that determine our identity.  We are going to have to face a lot of heartaches, disappointments and losses in this life… a lot bigger than losing a game.  We might as well start learning how to walk with our head up.

I enthusiastically walked off the court with the girls.  I told them how proud I was of them and how great they had played.  They had gone all out.  100%.  They had played with all they had.  What else can you ask for as a coach?

Not everyone may have the same skill level or talent that someone else has in sports or any other area of life, but if they give their best, go all out, give 100%, put their heart and soul into it, and never give up… that is a champion to me.

It’s a great day to walk like a champion today!


Jeff Becraft is the Executive Director for Youth Corps and has dedicated much of his life to helping shift the vision of people’s lives.  Youth Corps is a life-changing leadership development experience that inspires high school students to be leaders in the Midlands and beyond. You can connect with Jeff at [email protected].