“WE WON!” When I said that in the classroom on Wednesday morning, my students thought that now it is official – I really lost it. I know what the scoreboard said, and I know that the Wolfpack will definitely not take the CIF championship this year, but I still submit that our boys won the game.
When I left the house, giving some students a ride to the game, I told them not to count on me for a ride back, as I am probably leaving early – I didn’t think that we had a chance. I am not pessimistic, but considering that we lost against this same team by 30 or so points, and they have multiple players that stand north of 6″6, I was being a realist. But I was proven very wrong. Not only did I stay for the entire game, but I didn’t want to miss a play.
Our boys played so hard, and so well – it was amazing. They were tenacious and skilled, fighting for every opportunity. To me, it was a winning game.
Chazal, (Shabbos, 31a), gives us a heads-up that eventually we will have to answer a few questions; Were we honest in our business? Did we designate time for Torah? Did we await Moshiach? It is interesting that the last two questions don’t ask about what we accomplished, but rather what we strived to do. It doesn’t ask, “Did you become a Talmid Chacham?” Rather did you learn. Nor does it ask, “Did you bring the Moshiach?” Instead, did we desire his coming.
The focus of answers won’t be what we accomplished, but rather what we strove to accomplish, and for that we shall be rewarded. And, isn’t what we always tell our children? Don’t we preach that it is the effort that counts – I hope we do.
Society is about the bottom line – did you or didn’t you? If you didn’t win, then you lost. Effort can be appreciated, and intent is recognized, but the bottom line is the bottom line. This is not a Torah value. Indeed, the Torah values teach us that we don’t just recognize the intent and effort, but we honor and reward it as well.
So, to our dear students, members of the Wolfpack basketball team of 2015, walk with pride knowing that you won! Take this lesson with you in everything that you do, in your Torah learning and advancement, to any career choice you eventually make – strivers are winners!
In a similar vein, I couldn’t have been prouder of the school pride displayed by our student body. The energy and excitement was palpable and the overall good spirits made it enjoyable to be with them. The cheering was appropriate, and even religious as they broke into the Adar song, “Mi Shenichnas Adar…” I was inspired when they too were encouraging of their friends and their playing.
Finally, and far from least, as was duly impressed by the members of the team that came on time for shacharis the next day.
Indeed, WE WON!!
By Rabbi Daniel Grama