Everyone Needs to Learn How to Lose, So Play Sports
There are so many great reasons to play sports: it keeps you in shape, you learn perseverance, and, of course, they are fun. However, there is one other reason why you should play sports as a child and continue to play sports for as long as you are capable; sports are the perfect way to learn how to lose. Whether you are on the left or right of the political aisle, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the populace of the United States no longer knows how to lose. When it comes to politics, it is almost never your guy’s fault. The blame is always thrust on somebody else. In short, we are a nation that is incapable of dealing with being on the losing side of the ledger. We need more people playing sports because people need to learn how to lose again.
So why do we need to learn how to lose? One of the most important lessons from sports, and one that every athlete has unfortunately learned, is that you cannot win them all. That seems like a silly lesson to have to learn because it should be obvious on its face, but it is true. It is required learning. It is also a paradox for athletes because nobody goes into a game hoping to lose. Quite the opposite, every athlete and team worth its salt expects to win, no matter how long the odds. You go out, you play, and you hope to win.
But you do not win every time out. Even Michael Jordan did not win every time out. Sure, 6-for-6 in NBA Finals, and NBA Finals MVPs, but in case you did not know, he played more than six seasons. It was losing that drove him. Learning how to lose, and more importantly, learning and feeling the pain of losing are great motivators.
Where do you think Tom Brady would be without the Patriots’ 2007 season? Do you think he would still be plugging away at 43 years of age, once again offering his body as a sacrificial lamb for defensive ends and blindside linebackers? Nope. He needed to lose to become Tom Brady. And he needed to lose in the worst ways possible. Without the devastating end to the 2007 season, Tom Brady has three super bowl wins (or four if we are counting the inverse hypothetical), and is already retired. But the loss visibly haunts him and NFL fans can see how it pushes him to want more. He is driven by those losses.
When You Learn How to Lose, You Learn How to Improve
However, how he and other athletes handle their losses is a great example for the rest of Americans. Sure, an athlete might get so wound up right after the loss that they are seen crying or inconsolable in the postgame, but eventually they pick themselves up and get right back into trying to make themselves better. The problem we are facing right now in America is that when we lose, we have a nasty habit of remaining in the inconsolable stage. We do not flip the page and begin a new season. No, many of us are in a continuous temper tantrum without any sign of it relenting.
When you learn how to lose, you learn how to improve. That is one of the reasons America seems so stuck right now. In a nation full of people brought up on participation trophies (or are the parents who handed out participation trophies), very few people know how to properly self-critique. They do not know how to examine their own faults and limitations and fix them. Instead, the blame is thrown onto somebody else.
It was not Hillary Clinton’s fault she lost the 2016 election for never stepping foot in Wisconsin. No, instead, it was all those uneducated rubes who voted for Trump (OR IT WAS THE RUSSIANS!). It is not Donald Trump’s fault the media is harsh and one-sided in their coverage. No, it is simply that they are FAKE NEWS! It has nothing to do with the fact Trump tweets and says things like a teenager riding an oxycontin high post wisdom tooth surgery. Or that he is so caustic the Brookings Institute had to create a running tally of his administration’s turnover. No, every one of his hires is just a D.C. swamp creature who could not take Trump’s realness.
Why We Need to Remember How to Lose for the 2020 Election
Look, we are all losers. Everyone has lost at some point in their life. But what separates the winners from the actual losers is how they deal with losing. Did they learn how to lose and make themselves better, or did they decide the blame for losing is found elsewhere… and stayed a loser? Many Americans have lost the ability to cope with losing and it is infecting every aspect of American life.
When is the last time you had an enjoyable conversation with somebody from across the aisle? Did it stay civil the entire time, or did it get overly animated? Have you lost friends due to politics at any time in the last six years? Why? Because winning every conversation and winning every point is of the utmost importance in our current climate. We are living in a zero-sum existence. In order for me to win and get my point across, you need to lose. And nobody wants to lose. So how are people reacting? By throwing temper tantrums. By screaming, by throwing things, by burning down cities.
If I cannot get my point across, and you refuse to listen to me and do as I wish, watch as I destroy something precious to you. Because if I cannot win, I am going to cause as much hardship as possible for you. I do not even care if it hurts others who are not connected to the current battle. Do those statements sound like the actions of somebody who learned how to lose? Does that sound like an adult, or a child throwing a temper tantrum?
But this is what we have come to as we approach the 2020 election. We are a nation that did not learn how to lose, or we learned the lesson and have totally forgotten it. So instead of acting like civilized adults, we are acting like children who have never looked up at the scoreboard and realized they were doomed. We no longer shake hands after the game and say, “good game,” because losing has become unacceptable as opposed to a fact of life.
But because we failed to learn how to lose, rather than improving our side and trying to fix our issues, we look at our opponent and tell everyone how evil they are, how dumb they are, and how many terrible things will happen if our side loses. So now the trenches have been dug, and neither side wants to lose, mostly because neither side seems capable of handling that loss. If you are looking around at the 2020 election and wondering, “why is it so heated?” It is because losing the game is no longer an option. And that is the 2020 Election; just another round of every American’s favorite (or most hated) political game. It is Republicans versus Democrats: But this time, nobody can lose! Round Two… Fight!