01:26 21 March 2015 New Orleans, Louisiana NABC by GS Jade Barrett Csbnews.org correspondent
“Failure happens all the time. It happens every day in practice. What makes you better is how you react to it” – Mia Hamm
We reacted to our narrow loss in the Vanderbilt by gathering together to commiserate as we ate, drank and then not sleep.
Typically the team bounces right back, entering the next event to put our frustrations behind us and begin the journey to a Championship anew. This time we returned to the home we rented in New Orleans to practice amongst ourselves, reviewing our methods and resetting our minds to prepare for the final two days of the competition.
As a coach, trainer and captain of these uniquely qualified individual athletes, I have become aware that a day off does not truly serve our best interests, particularly after a tough defeat. Better to use the time to make our personal connections stronger through our concerted efforts to improve.
Cheering for each other is vital. It is much easier to do so when you witness each member of the team practicing with gusto, attacking each problem with their full focus and energy, while offering advice and encouragement to every other teammate. The bonds of friendship are reinforced as well, and the sense of family creates a higher sense of wellbeing for the entire group. We simply wish to win for each other far more than just for ourselves. This state of unity is critical to making this collection of briliant, driven people into the formidable team they are.
The amazing Iceland team that acquired the World Championship some decades ago set the standard for collective effort. They exercised, ate, drank and lived as family, building themselves into an undefeatable juggernaut of the bridge world in their era. Admiring their approach, we adopted their attitude and are much the better for it. We play for and with each other, celebrating our successes and embracing our losses. With this philosophy, we fight the good fight each and every day we are together.
I am proud to be a member of this organization of talented competitors, the total being far greater than the sum of our parts.