Taking What’s Best from Not Being the Best

Last week, there was a final match of Euro U21 Football Championship between Spain and Germany. Germany won the match 1-0, even though they didn’t able field their strongest players because their top young players were chosen for the other Germany squad in the Confederations Cup as well.

In football, every final cup match ceremony has a ceremony after the match. The losing team walked to the podium first to receive the medallion from the committee. In this case, the Spanish side went first. The committee on the podium placed a medal to each player’s neck. However, most of them wore it off.

There were few players who didn’t do that, one of them is Hector Bellerin, a player for Arsenal FC. After that, there was a tweet with caption, “spot the Arsenal player”. The joke was that Hector didn’t put it off because Arsenal back then rarely won a cup, so he was labeled “happy” with second place. I get the joke because from 2006-2013 Arsenal didn’t win a single trophy. It was kinda irrelevant nowadays though because Arsenal won 3 FA Cups in the last 4 years.

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Hector kept his medal

The thing that triggered me was a lot of people bashed Bellerin for having a “loser mentality”, because he didn’t put the medal off him means that he was satisfied with second place. Then, they in advance called the other players having “winner mentality” because they did the otherwise. I don’t know where that logic came from. They didn’t have winner mentality, but they had crybaby mentality. If you have winner mentality, you should have proved it on the field, not off field. I speak like this not because I support Arsenal FC and therefore I defend Bellerin, but because people’s way of thinking was simply a little bit off.

Imagine you are competing in a tournament or something and get only second/third place. Will you throw off your reward during the ceremony (if there is any)? I believe not. That way, you are disrespecting the committee who have tried their best to organize the competition. Other than that, the positive side of keeping a non-first place prize is to remind you to work harder in the future. Every time you see that prize (either in form of a reward or a medal) in the future, you will remember why did you only get that prize. Maybe you made a mistake which cost you the competition. You will be haunted by that mistake. That is good. Try to convert that haunt effect to improve yourself by not doing the same mistake anymore.

Bellerin didn’t have loser mentality. He didn’t wore off the medal because he respected the committee and he knew he should do better in the future, unlike most Spain U-21 players who did otherwise, thinking they only deserved first place. That mentality will slow their growth because they feel like they are the best and won’t look back to their past mistakes. I think it’s because they are still 21 years old or lower, so professionalism isn’t embedded yet in their heart. Despite their actions last week, I really hope Spain will continue to produce beautiful football just like when they won Euro 2008 and World Cup 2010 with the combination of their young and senior players.

In my opinion, the conclusion is exactly like what the title says. “Take what’s best from not being the best. You may not be the best today, but you should evaluate yourself from the efforts you have given. Some people will give up when they failed, but some other will use that failure as a jumping stone towards a better result in the future.

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