Text of this morning's Thought:
It was not the happiest of weekends for Bristol's major sports teams. In the rugby, Bristol’s long-expected relegation from the premiership was finally confirmed.
In the football, City’s home draw left the slim chances of reaching a play-off place dangling by a thread, while Rovers continued to play out a largely meaningless mid-table end to the season with a defeat to Tranmere.
Still, if there’s one thing that sport teaches you it’s that success and failure are both temporary and relative. Consider that this time only four years ago, Bristol Rugby were also out of the premiership, while City and Rovers were both stuck a division below where they are now.
So when Rugby coach Paul Hull talks about “coming back stronger” next year, he’s not simply being optimistic. He’s only stating what any sports person has to think if they are to stay competitive. For whether you’ve won or lost this season, next year the same old ball game is, in a sense, a whole new one too.
If being successful were all that mattered, this would be a pretty depressing state of affairs. Achievements are fleeting and the exception, not the rule. If life’s meaning is sought through them, in sport or elsewhere, then life is usually meaningless.
Fortunately, there’s another way of looking at it. Those who regularly fill the stands of the Memorial Stadium or Ashton Gate do so not just so that the rare moments of pure triumph are sweeter, but because they enjoy the drama, the beauty and the emotion of the struggle. The moral for the rest of us is clear: You should not just sing when you’re winning. As long as you’re playing, be in good voice.