Winning Isn't Everything

May 03, 2014, 6:48 p.m. (ET)

U.S. Women's National Team athlete Emily Wold tells USA Field Hockey who is motivating her in the finals at the 2014 Champions Challenge.

Athletes who read this title may think, “You’re crazy, winning is everything.” The competitive edge and sensational high I get from winning a game plays as a major factor in the reason why I play the sport that I love. Speaking on behalf of most highly competitive athletes, I think it is safe to say that the majority of us feel that there is no better feeling then winning. While that stands to be mostly true, playing a game can provide much more greatness and joy than just getting the result at the end.

After hearing about Alyssa Klebasko’s story in ‘The Little Goalie Who Can’ and her diagnoses of leukemia at age six, I was immediately inspired to read about such a competitor who is willing to put up a fight without backing down. In sports you can easily get too focused on the outcome of the game and forget that there is much more than just winning in the end. We came to Scotland focusing on a few tasks but the most important one, winning the tournament. After reading about Alyssa’s story she has geared me towards a new focus in the championship game; play with heart and never back down. A game of 70 minutes is not always going to go as you want and mistakes are going to happen. It will be in those moments that matter most to never stop fighting. Those moments define a true winner. Each and everyday Alyssa shows how big of a heart she has and how even at such a young age she never gives up. Alyssa began the sport by playing in the field, but when she realized that wasn’t the right spot for her, she discovered her skills were more beneficial as a goalkeeper. Alyssa didn’t give up on the sport, but rather found a spot where she could be most effective and make the most impact.

The fight we stand in today’s championship match is against Ireland and I couldn’t be more excited to play for something much more then getting that W at the end. Thank you Alyssa for being a breath of fresh air for me and my teammates as we play our last game in the tournament for you. We will be wearing Band-Aids in support of Alyssa and her mother Gretchen’s Band Aid foundation. The foundation is geared towards collecting fun, colorful Band-Aids for patients after they receive a shot. Nobody likes getting a shot, but getting a cheerful Band-Aid to show off after makes the process a whole lot more enjoyable.