The crowd is cheering and screaming in the background as we walk back onto the court. My knuckles are clenched, and I know there’s only more pain ahead of me. As the referee hands me the ball, I stare at the clock one last time, then I begin to look for my teammates. As my opponent, defends me, they take the ball and score as the horn sounds off. All around me, I see my teammates with their heads down. I look at the score, and remind myself that this isn’t just a loss. It’s an historic loss, and everything is falling back on me. While our team isn’t bad, these were the reigning state champions, and most people who think on those things believe they will be going back to state again with no troubles. We were nothing more than just another random team to them. We never had a chance against them. We didn’t go in thinking we were going to lose though. We never practiced to get beat. Our coach had a set routine: we were to play together on both sides of the court, and take care of the ball. Our opponents, known for their speed, wouldn’t be able to keep up. All we needed to do was stay solid on offense and defense. It was a great idea in speculation, but speculation is not the court. However, their defense plunged through us like we were tissue paper. My role in the plan was an complete failure. No matter what I attempted to do, the last piece of strength I tried to draw, wasn’t enough. I was not big enough. I was not quick enough. I was not good enough. To make this short, I failed, and my team suffered for it. For the whole game, I was overwhelmed over and over again by players that were bigger, stronger, quicker, and better than I was. After the game, I had never felt worse. It wasn’t just the physical features, through my aches and pains, but the outburst of my feelings and emotions. It was the feeling of failure; of immediate failure. Had I held the ball, as I was supposed to, we would’ve won. There was no way to get around that. Had we won that night, I never would have learned anything. Had I been able to hold that ball, as I was told to do, I would still be the same person. By failing, I was able to develop. I couldn’t stop them from beating us, but we didn’t give up. This was the most important feature of what occurred. To a person who’s never experienced defeat, a setback can be very hurtful. Defeat though, teaches you how to persist in the face of hardship. My experience was very painful, but because of it, I can apply it to other physical areas of my life. Because of what I did, I know that getting knocked down isn’t important. Getting back up is what counts.