Failure – A viable option?


I find it interesting how popular failure has become. Experts are writing books about how important failure is. There are blog post and comments galore. Hate to say I told so, but I discovered how important failure was over fifty years ago. I was a thirteen-year-old ninth grader and I failed miserably in school. A grade of C was a good grade, heck I could not even take PE maybe my only chance to get above a C because of Osgood Slaughters disease in my knees. Many people wanted to define me as a failure but thank God my parents did not, nor did I. My failure in Math and English drove me. I needed to figure out a way. I persisted, sure there where times when I gave up and threw my algebra book against the wall in frustration, but then I picked it up and went back at it. The same was true in sports; I was essentially a year too young for my grade in school. I was runt and then I grew, eight inches in ten months. What a mess. No idea where my hand was in relation to my face, my feet to my hips, but I was determined. I had an older brother who was a great athlete; I was determined to follow in his footsteps. I got better as an athlete; I did it on persistence, grit and determination not talent or ability whatever they are. I realize now fifty plus years latter that the failure fueled me, they drove me on, they made me more determined than ever to achieve. I guess I never thought of them as failure, I certainly did not think they were learning opportunities as I teach to my athletes now. I learned from them though, somehow I got past them and earned a college degree, a masters degree from Stanford (A school whose name I could not spell in ninth grade), played college football and competed in decathlon as a post collegian. I continue my work toward an advanced degree in the school of life. I continue to make mistakes, to take chances to stumble and fall forward. At age sixty-six I may not be smarter but I am significantly wiser. I think I know what I don’t now and work everyday to close the gap between what I do know for sure and what I don’t know (Huge chasm). That is what gets me out of bed in the morning; it drives me to be better. So failure is an option, but failure is not final, it represents an opportunity. Take advantage of the opportunities failure presents – go for it!

Vern Gambetta

Vern Gambetta

Director at Gambetta Sports Training Systems
Vern is the Director of Gambetta Sports Training Systems. He has been the a conditioning coach for several MLS teams as well as the conditioning consultant to the US Men's World Cup Soccer team. Vern is the former Director of Conditioning for the Chicago White Sox and New York Mets. He has lectured and conducted clinics in Canada, Japan, Australia and Europe and has authored six books and over one hundred articles related to coaching and sport performance in a variety of sports. He has a BA in teaching with a coaching minor and an MA in Education with an emphasis in physical education from Stanford University.
Vern Gambetta


Athletic Development Coach & Consultant. Founder of GAIN Network. Proud dad. Love to read everything.
RT @GreatestQuotes: Your aspirations are your possibilities. - Samuel Johnson - 4 years ago
Vern Gambetta

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