Musing content alert. I was watching an episode of “Brokenwood Mysteries” the other day – I watch DVD while I’m on the exercise bike – and it was centered around the murder of the local rugby team coach. As always, there was more than one story line. A somewhat catalyst (although not the true motive) for the murder was the fact the team had lost fifty straight games. In teasing one of the players, his comment was, “Hey, us not winning doesn’t mean we’re losers.”
That sets up the duality of, “It’s isn’t whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game that counts,” as opposed to, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”
Competitiveness runs the gamut from individuals who feel no reason to compete/are afraid to, to the far end of those who will do anything to win. The saying (more or less) of, “The first automobile race occurred ten minutes after the second automobile was produced,” speaks to the human nature to compete. It motivates and allows/encourages people to reach for a higher level in whatever. As with most things in life, balance and moderation are key. Team sports teach much to an individual; such as how to do your best and how you can often do more than you think. Training and practice can improve your performance (again in whatever). In many situations though there can only be one winner. That’s the valuable lesson of understanding that not winning is not the same as being a loser.
From another context, the idea of “participation trophies” and not keeping scores comes with the risk of not learning that valuable lesson. I firmly believe in participation acknowledgement and instilling in the “winners” the need to do so graciously.