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The Battle is Not Over Until You Win

Updated: Aug 29, 2022

I've been a swimmer for almost ten years now, and this sport has taught me priceless lessons that will accompany me for the rest of my life. The most important lesson I've learned is that "The battle is not over until you win." I’ve heard this statement ever since I was a kid, from my dad, who is a marathon runner. He would always tell me over and over "The battle is not over until you... win”.

I couldn't understand the meaning of this saying for many years. It didn’t make sense to me. What happens if the battle is over with the results not in your favor? You must accept it. That’s life. When you are young, everything is much easier, expectations are blurry, and the pressure is minor. This time, I was 16 years old, and I have only started to learn how to set realistic goals for myself, have just learned how to want something more than anything and learned how to work hard for it.  One winter night, my dad and I were driving back after an important championship where I witnessed failure for the first time. I took first place just the previous championship but was seeded second for this race. The determination to win was running throw my veins, I told myself I must protect my title. However, with all the pressure I put on myself, I was disqualified from my race and was kicked off the meet. 

My dad and I were driving back home, after this exhausting four-day swimming championship. It was dark, it was raining heavily, and it was silent. My body was swollen in the car seat, and all I could hear was the heavy rain falling on the glass. He then told me, "Michelle, the battle is not over." I responded with range, "yes, it is." "NO" he attacked back. "The battle is not over until you win," he said. "You will come back next time, and you will claim that win. You will work harder, wish stronger, focus better, and then you will win it. It’s over when you say it’s over" My dad said. 

I sat in the car silently and finally understood what he means, this battle is personal, this win is your own goal... I shall come back next championship, better, stronger, and wiser - and I shall win. Winning is a subjective intellectual achievement, not a fixed task determined by others, no one else can tell you if you have won your battle. I shall come back, I said to myself, and I shall win.

I sat quietly in the car as a tear dropped down my cheek, on that day I faced failure for the first time, but it was one of the best things that ever happened to me. The lesson I learned from that day, will follow me for the rest of my life.

The battle is not over until you win.


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