Thursday, January 24, 2008

More on Losers

Perhaps I shouldn't have used the phrase "ungifted losers". I do believe that we all have gifts, somehow, somewhere, however idiosyncratic. But I also believe that we're all losers, sooner or later, and more often than not.

It's just that I know a lot of people who whine and moan when they lose. Yell at the umpire. Kick and spit. I know a kid who throws his gamepad at the TV when he loses a vid, then he pouts and huffs and treats his mom like dirt. Poor form. Whatever happened to a smile and a handshake and a "Good game!"?

24,300 people ran the Honolulu Marathon. There was one winner. Ambesse Tolossa of Ethiopia, who also won it the year before. That's 23,299 losers. But a marathon is quite a thing. Most of those people who crossed the finish line did so with a smile on their face, overjoyed that they even made it to the end of the competition! That's good losing!

Mrs. Ditchman is a good loser. It's one of her finer traits! In it for the competition, she is. Loves the challenge, works hard to win and keeps coming back for the spirit of the game. It inspires me more than Ambesse Tolossa ever could, no matter how fast he runs.

One person wins the presidency, one team wins the Superbowl. If you go around saying "we're all winners" you're either ignorant or dishonest. Who put the shame in losing? It's part of life! I would rather be a good loser than a bad winner, as everyone hates a bad winner. We all want to be good winners and there's nothing wrong with that. To all of you who want to be good winners, I say Go for it! As for those of us who come in behind you... To lose is to presume you tried. If I call everyone losers, I'm giving everyone the benefit of the doubt. To not try is something much worse than losing.

TheDawgRun sent me the famous Yoda quote, "Do or do not. There is no try." I respect Yoda, and he will dismiss my barking at his aged wisdom, but I find it an overly simplistic notion. If we "do or do not" does that mean we either do win the marathon, or we do not win the marathon and there is no trying? I believe this proves my point that we are likely to lose. Unless we redefine as "do finish the marathon" or "do not finish the marathon", but this would imply that there are things I should just never attempt, or even "try" to do. So what are those things? Yoda needs to clarify. Perhaps it only applies when using The Force to levitate your spacecraft out of a swamp. Sadly, I'm no Jedi, and I'm no Ambesse Tolossa, but I tried and that was the whole point of it. It's all about the trying. I lost along with 23,000 other people, but we lost well. There were countless masses who were afraid to try at all.

And I could go on and on about that one! Whole treatises can be written on the subject of the Failure of Will. I'd quote Socrates and Plato and C.S. Lewis and Matthew 25 and the 'Parable of the Talents'! It would be brilliant!

But if I did, it would be a failure of will to get to work this morning. See? You can't win.

Ambesse Tolossa of Ethiopia, winner of the 2006 and 2007 Honolulu Marathon.

The real winners.