Defeat is hard to accept. But I have watched my Children, and many other children, do it for years now with a facility that is both admirable and instructional. Mostly it happens, in my observation, on the basketball court. There are games when my son and his teammates command such an explosive victory that you can almost see the blood pulsing in their veins as their feet dance and bodies gyrate in celebration. And there are games like last night's when the loss is deep and dark and deafening. What is consistent with these young people is the understanding of how a game fundamentally works and, on a loftier level, how all life works. A referee may make a bad call, a really wrong and unfair call. There is a bit of eye rolling but quickly these kids move on, keeping their focus on what you might call the Compliance of competition. They know it takes both sides, a winner and a loser, to make a compelling contest, to produce an opportunity to shine or to realize you can do better or to simply feel the thrill of possibility. I doubt they would put it in those words, but that is how I see it. There's much to glean from these kids, these rivals, about advancing with purpose, unity and ultimately respect for rules and each other.