People who know me know that I don’t care much for sports. Why? It doesn’t interest me. I won’t talk to you about the release of Gnome 2.22 or that KDE 4 is just around the corner so please don’t talk to me about last nights score (and if you don’t understand what I just said, then welcome to my world). Now does this exclude me from commenting on sports? Nope. How come? Because at the center of sports is what is at the heart of all human endeavors, the need to have something to struggle against, be it real or contrived. How is this struggle measured? By wins and loses. When you win then the struggle is going your way and when you lose it isn’t. Does this mean that the losers get nothing. Hardly! There is knowledge to be gained from both experiences.
But to some people having a wall of trophies or your name on a plaque is the only thing that matters. I could go and buy a bunch of trophies and put them on my wall, but they would be meaningless because I didn’t struggle to achieve them. And that doesn’t mean the losers come away with nothing. I will admit to something that not a lot of people know, but I actually wrestled for 2 years. I also had a perfect record, unblemished by any silly wins. Sure I would have liked to win, but I didn’t come away empty handed. I learned how to persevere when things aren’t going your way and not give up.
I am not one of those who say that participating is what matters not winning. For the game to be meaningful there has to be a goal to achieve and winning is it. But some people get such tunnel vision that they don’t see what else there is to be learned, such as honor, leadership, integrity, duty and responsibility. I am a little suspect of those who are obsessed with winning. Are they really interested in the players and team or are they furthering some personal agenda, such as advancing a coaching career or trying to vicariously re-gain their lost glory days through players on the team.
Sports has it place in the whole scheme of things. If done properly it can be a good experience teaching kids many valuable lessons, but if the thinking gets too lop-sided then it becomes the breeding ground for egos, resentments and self-centered thinking.