Playing a sport has many rewards, but it can also be challenging at times. There will always be a day of winning and a day of losing. The focus on young team sports should never be just about winning. It should be about doing your best and learning every day.

Last summer, I decided to try out for my first travel team. This team had many players that were my friends and old teammates. I’ve played with some of them since T-ball.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

The afternoon of tryouts, I had fallen asleep on the way there. I arrived prepared. Shortly into our tryouts, I was hit in the neck with a pitch. I was in pain, but my mom encouraged me to try to stick it out. Mentally, I was no longer in the game and I was discouraged. I was told that my skills were not as good as the others. They said I was a good athlete, but not good enough.

A few days later the results were in and I didn’t make the team. I was sad. Within days, my mom met with a coach from another team who stressed the importance of learning, not always winning. I may not have been “good enough,” but that just made me try harder. Our team didn’t win games in the fall season, but I learned about being a team player, sportsmanship, friendship, skills and to never give up! I have been playing with kids that are older than me and it has taught me a lot.

I am now taking pitching lessons and I love it. Not just in sports, but also in life, it’s not always about winning. Believe in yourself and keep pushing forward. Not making one team does not mean that you cannot make another team. It does not mean you are not good enough; it just means you can try harder. Doing better each day goes a long way.