Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Winners And Losers

I had a large response to my post about competition. Thank you to everyone who read it. I hope it opened some conversations even if they are internal. At the same time you may have created a monster. I now feel compelled to follow that post with this one.

Recently the news was filled with the tale of a high school girls basketball game. The final score was 161 - 2. Cheating was NOT an issue.

The coach of the winning team says that he used no starters (best players) after the first half of the game. The game "simply got away" from him was what he said. He was suspended from his job as coach accused of poor sportsmanship and running up the score.

As you might expect the parents of the winning team feel that their daughters did what they were supposed to do by scoring as much as they could. The parents for the losing team are outraged that the other team beat them by such a large score and feel that their daughters are embarrassed and think they are lesser players. They feel the winning coach should have instructed his team to not play so hard once they had a large lead in scoring.

The losing coach said, "People shouldn't feel sorry for my team. They should feel sorry for his team, which isn't learning the game the right way?" He still has his job.

I heard a woman on a talk show saying that perhaps the winning coach and losing coach should have traded a few players at the half-way point to even playing abilities. Another woman told her that winning and losing is a part of life. The players needed to learn to do both with grace and dignity.

Nobody mentioned whether either team did their best. I did some reading and discovered that the losing team had lost several games by very large margins just as the winning team won a few by very large margins.

I feel bad for the girls on the losing team. Perhaps they just are not as talented or perhaps they were not as dedicated. Perhaps they just got beat.

I am happy for the girls on the winning team. I would like to think they put in a lot of time polishing their skills. Perhaps it was just one of those days where everything went their way.

Steroids. They are the bane of the sports world. Players are using drugs to enhance their bodies and natural abilities. It gives them an unfair advantage against their opponents.

As nearly as I can narrow it down steroids began to be commonplace in body builders. The steroids helped them to form larger, firmer muscles for competition.

Professional wrestlers admired the bodies of the body builders and began to use the steroids. It is believed the larger more muscular bodies gave them an edge over the wrestlers who did not bulk up.

Baseball players were discovered to be using steroids to give them an unfair advantage over other players. By now they are being called performance enhancing drugs. There has been a huge scandal in baseball resulting in fines, suspensions, and terminations for players found guilty of using these drugs.

Suddenly performance enhancing drugs were popping up in other sports, even bicycling. Players who use them are called cheaters.

My opinion of steroid users is that they are trying to cheat. They are looking for an easy solution to help them be a little better than the next guy. Artificial assistance is wrong. Working hard to improve your own abilities is what they needed to do. Often the ones who were the worst violators would have been star players without the drugs.

That brings me to the subject of cheating. Cheating is breaking rules or deception to gain advantage. Who are you cheating?

Of course you are cheating the people you are competing against. They are also trying to win. If they are palying fairly and you are not it is not really a competition.

My opinion is that you are cheating yourself. You do not have enough faith in yourself to participate in a fair competition. You are selling yourself short. You also cheat yourself of knowing what you could accomplish on your own and feeling the satisfaction of doing your best. You will have no motivation to improve you skills.

I have even seen people playing solitaire cheating. My goodness. You are playing against yourself. 

Winning and losing are both important. We have discussed this so I will not elaborate. But I have an example of what each can do.

My sons were on a little league baseball team. There were only four teams in this league. It was church sponsored. Each team had a sponsor of one of the area businesses. They had team T-shirts and caps that were required to be worn during games. Each team had its own coach who was responsible for teaching and practice.

My sons' team had never in its history won a game... not one. After each game we parents would take up a collection to give the coach to treat the boys. Then we all drove to the little neighborhood store that was their sponsor. The boys would receive from their coach something to drink and a snack. It was a fun way for them to feel together and sort of rehash the game. They learned to rebound from the loss.

Then at practices they would work at learning their game. They learned the rules. They learned how to bat and run the bases. They prepared for the next game.

Then came that fabulous day when they won. The other three teams knew that playing against our team ensured a win. That first team they beat was not at all happy. Their coach was furious.

Our team congratulated the other team as was a rule of the league. They lined up and as they walked in a line congratulated each player from the other team on a game well-played. Usually they simply said, "Good game." It is enough.

The fun thing was that on the way to the store for their treat the boys were hanging out car windows screaming, "We're number 4! We're number 4" They had not felt that they were even to be ranked before because they had not won a game. Now they were legitimate players and deserved to be the number 4 team. It was a good lesson for us all.


  1. This is a great description of sportsmanship.

    1. I believe it is. All of the parents of our team were humbled into silence.

  2. Hello greetings and good wishes.

    Excellent post on steroids, winning and losing.

    The competition in all form of sports has become very fierce and sometimes large financial rewards are at stake. There are coaches and sportsmen who want to cheat and win. We are all aware in athletics and boxing many were barred after winning and their medals taken away.. In cricket betting is a common thing and sometimes good players deliberately play badly so that their team loses.

    In all sports we have honest players and dishonest players. They punishment for dishonesty should be severe otherwise this malpractice will not stop.

    Best wishes

    1. Thank you for your thoughts I agree. The problem is that each time we think we have stopped the cheating they find a new way to do it. it is sad.

  3. "Who are you cheating?" - exactly! What are they tying to prove by taking advantage in using steroids? As for me, there is pride in winning something if inthe first place you have cheated. You are in fact not proving anything to anyone, neither to yourself.

    1. So true. You said it all... there is nothing more for me to add.

    2. I meant "there is No pride" by the way. But I suppose you have guessed it as you already know my typo errors :)

  4. I'm not really a sporty person but I do watch games every once in a while. I see that some athletes go the extra mile to cheat just to win. Maybe they're desperate for the prize or they have other intentions. But it beats the idea of sports, right? What's playing for if we don't fight fairly?

    1. Sporting events are supposed to showcase the best of the sport. When players cheat they are not the best. The best do not need to break the rules.