MORRISTOWN, NJ - Morristown High School Athletes have kicked off their spring season this week by getting a few scrimmages under their belt. Win or lose these athletes, old and young, are being taught valuable lessons each day on and off the field. 

Rivalry: noun

Competition for the same objective or for superiority in the same field. 

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Today our "rivals" scored a victory in a 5th grade basketball championship game over our home team.  The competition between the two towns has been deeply rooted in the lives of our children.  We always like to beat our rivals and when we lose to them it hurts just a little more.  Yet, when I look at my son, small in stature, but large in heart, I am thankful for the rivalry.  He, like his brother and sister uses it to make himself better.  Every super hero has a villain, as the Yankees have the Red Sox.  There will always be an opponent standing in the way of victories in life.  Many times the obstacles are external, yet learning to face your rival helps to defeat the only true rival that has to come away happy and feeling triumphant: one's self. That ability to lose and learn is the only way we can grow. 

The game between my son and his peers was another feather in his cap.  He lost on the court, but grew again from the wonderful experience of competition.  Winning is just another result of an effort put forth.  Losing is the more difficult experience, and many people feel that it is failure.  BUT, I thank goodness for the failures my children face, and the rivals that exist to make them better. Response to conflict and loss is something that life deals out every day, and every loss is actually a lesson toward achieving success. 

Like my whole family, my boy hates losing, but loves to compete against the best because this makes him want to be his best.  The rivals from the town over have their own pressure of expectation, and were "supposed" to win.  However, losing to an opponent doesn't mean failure especially in a championship game.

Not one tear was shed after today's game and that was the best result we could have hoped for.  The journey to the game was unbelievable, and the kids will never forget that victory in the semifinal game vs. the undefeated Jefferson boys.  And today's loss to Randolph showed a classy ending when the two "rival" teams posed for a joint a picture.  One person from my town asked me, "Why are we posing with them!?!" My response was simple: "Because, it is about THEM!" the collective smiles of children that competed, and felt good about themselves.  Isn't that what it's about? 

So I thank my rivals for making my child want to push himself to be the best he can be.  And all I can say is, we’ll see you next time!



Tap into Morristown Sponsor Matthew Forte is owner of Writing for Success. Writing for Success will help students with their writing needs. Writing clearly with cohesion is a challenge for most secondary students. With personalized help, students can learn more in one session with an experienced teacher, than he/she can accomplish in a week within the confines of traditional classroom settings.

Matthew Forte is currently a professor teaching Writing Skills at County College of Morris in Randolph, NJ. He previously was a classroom English teacher for 11 years In the New Jersey public school system. He obtained two Masters Degrees in English/Pedagogy, and Education Administration.

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