Losing important athletesI love losing. Don’t get me wrong, I hate it in the moment. I cry, I throw (mini) tantrums. I get upset at my coach. I get upset at my parents. I get upset at myself. But soon after, I no longer feel upset.

Losing always seems like a terrible thing to people. As if it is the end of the world and there is no way to make it up. But in reality, losing is one of the most important things to happen to an athlete.

During my senior year of high school, I had a month where I was doing really well. I placed really high at a division 1 regional event and the next weekend, WON Junior Olympic qualifiers. I was fencing really well and I thought I was on a roll. But as soon as all that was over, my fencing deteriorated. I couldn’t win anything. I lost most of my bouts and the ones I won were honestly just lucky. I lost at JO’s, I lost at North American Cups, I lost at division 1 regionals, I lost everywhere. I couldn’t qualify for events I was supposed to be really good at for nationals and the events I somehow did end up qualifying for, I bombed. For those seven months, all I really did was lose.

I was worried. I was on a really degrading losing streak and was scared for my future in the sport, especially since I had signed to fence for a Division 1 NCAA team in college which would require me to be very good. That was when I knew I had to step up my game. I started training in my backyard. I set up a target and would spend hours every single day hitting it. I treated each practice as if it were the Olympics. I went hard, every single time I trained. The last seven months were not going to hold me back. No. They were going to give me a boost forward.

Failure was the most useful thing in my fencing career. It made me push myself and fight harder, rather than just going with the flow. After using that low point as a push to train harder, I was back on my game. In fact, I earned some of my best results yet.

People look at failure as a negative thing but failure and success go hand in hand and work together. Without knowing failure, you won’t know your true potential and therefore may never have complete success. So no, failure isn’t the worst thing in the world. In fact, it might even be the best!