Losing, A Chronic Condition

I’ve been a writer since 1994 but have experienced losing for much longer.

It’s a chronic condition: At 13, Donny Wilmot beat me 7-6 in tennis and told me, “You played a career match Cote, and you still lost.” In high school, I started at shooting guard as a Sophomore, a year in which our hoops team put up 20 in the loss column, out of 20 games. At 26, I got so lost driving home from New York City on my third date with Bridget we ended up on Pennsylvania’s I-80. That’s really hard to do. I lost my hair by 29, my ability to make a 3-foot putt by 30 and the grass in my front yard by June, every year. At 33, I left my wallet on the top of the Subaru while filling up the tank twice in an eight-day span; both times the wallet fell off as I spun away. Today, I deal with a different kind of losing – as a coach of a middle school girls basketball team of kids who’ve never really played before and don’t have a safe place at home to practice; as a father of five who give their best in sports and on stage, but don’t always win, and as a man on the cusp of 50 who on any given day loses his patience, keys, favorite shirt and hearing….through it all, I try to learn a little something from losing….and be better for it the next time.

This column is my book on losing: how to do it gracefully and, with any luck, stop it: The Lost Column

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