View Mobile Site

Ask the Expert

Signal Photos


Michael Picarella: You have to lose before you can win

Picarella Family Report

Posted: June 12, 2009 9:47 p.m.
Updated: June 13, 2009 4:30 a.m.
My 5-year-old son recently asked if he could be a loser.

Let me back up a bit.

About a month ago, my wife decided to walk in a community run. She was very excited to participate — as long as she could drag me along.

“It’s only three miles,” my wife pleaded. “It’s good exercise, it’s for a good cause, it’s shorter than some of our weekend walks ... It’s not a pyramid scheme.”

She didn’t need to sell the idea to me. We’re married — I had no choice but to participate with her. So I figured if I’m going to be stuck doing this run, then my son is going to have to do it too.

I told the kid, “It’s good exercise, it’s a good cause ... It’s a good way to teach you about hard work, which is something you need to learn now that you’re becoming a big boy.” I told him that if he walked the entire three miles with Mommy and Daddy, he’d earn a Slurpee at 7-Eleven.

“What’s a Slurpee?” my son asked me.

“What’s a Slurpee?” I repeated with surprise. “Are you American?”

“It’s not healthy,” my wife told the child.

“Yummy,” he replied. “Can I get one?” My son has only been around five years and he already knows that the best things in life are bad for you.

We showed up at the starting line ready to go. We were 20 minutes late.

We took to the trails anyway. As we walked, I explained to my son that good things like Slurpees come at a cost.

“You have to work hard for the things you want in life,” I said. “You have to be able to put up with pain. You have to fail. And when you fail, you have to keep trying and trying and trying.”

“What’s ‘fail’ mean?” my son asked.

“It means to lose,” I said.

“But I don’t wanna lose, I wanna win,” my son said.

“You have to lose before you can win,” I said.

“Ooooo,” my son said. “Can I be a loser?”

My wife explained that winning or losing wasn’t the point of the run that day. She talked about the benefits of exercise.

“When your muscles hurt,” my wife told our son, “and your legs are sore and you’re tired, then you know you’re getting a good workout.

And working out is good for your health, and it helps you become strong like Superman.”

“Oooooh,” my son said. “So if I’m tired, is that exercise? I’m really sleepy right now.”

After walking two miles, my son experienced true exhaustion. And pain. His feet hurt. His legs hurt. His whole body hurt.

“This is the worst day of my entire life,” the boy said.

My wife and I were thrilled to hear.

“That means you’re getting a good workout,” my wife said.

“That means you’re learning something really important,” I said. “You’re learning that in life you suffer. And if you suffer a little longer, you’ll get the Slurpee you really want.”

Even though my son felt like we’d never finish the run, we eventually did. And then my wife and I took the kid to 7-Eleven to get him the Slurpee we promised.

“Can I get candy instead?” my son asked when he saw the candy selection. I didn’t hear him — I was busy getting the kid his Slurpee.

“He wants candy instead,” my wife said when I plopped the Slurpee and a few bucks down on the counter.

My heart sunk. I knew the Slurpee was too good to be true.

“Why did I make that deal with you to eat healthy together?” I asked my wife. “So much for sneaking sips of the kid’s Slurpee behind your back.”

My son added, “If you suffer a little longer, Daddy, you’ll get more healthy like you really want.”

Michael Picarella is a Valencia resident and a proud husband and father. His column reflects his own opinion and not necessarily that of The Signal. To contact Picarella or to read more stories, go to


Most Popular Articles

There are no articles at this time.
Commenting not available.
Commenting is not available.


Powered By
Morris Technology
Please wait ...