“It matters not if you won or lost, but how you played the game. Screw that. Its all about winning.” – Of course it is. But that’s not the only way to interpret this statement.
One prominent athlete said this: “We’re just going to keep playing hard and whatever happens, happens.”
What does that sound like to you? A defeatist attitude right? From one who is content with whatever happens. Any guesses who said those words? Here are some quotes about the man who did:
“He has a furious, lifelong, til-death-do-us-part fascination with winning. Practically all of his emotions are raw and untempered, but that one is the most ferocious. Do you understand the kind of heart it takes for a 160-pound man to scare NBA players?”- TrueHoop
“Quite simply, he’s the most menacing player in the league. There’s just something different about him, a darker edge that the other stars don’t have. He plays with a compelling, hostile, bloodthirsty energy that the other players just don’t have. He’s relentless in every sense of the word. He’s a warrior. He’s an alpha dog.”- Bill Simmons
“I remember when we beat them in the playoffs, he was shaking and sobbing, I knew he was going to make it because he was hurting so bad at the loss and he wanted to win so much.”- Reggie Miller
The quote came from this man:
Whatever happens, happens. You say that when you know that you have done every possible thing you could to put yourself in a position to win. After that it is out of your hands. There is no point beating yourself up about it, you have to accept that you did all you could.
“I promised myself that when I would look in the mirror after the game I’ll be able to say ‘You did all you could.’”- Allen Iverson, one of the fiercest competitors of this generation.
What is an appropriate attitude after losing? What do we want from our athletes who missed the Gold. “Gagan Narang came 3rd. And look at him posturing! He is content with a bronze medal.” Well why shouldn’t he be? Of course he aimed for Gold, and came up short. That just makes him the 3rd best shooter in.the.world. 3rd best among 6 billion. And we have the rind to suggest that that is not good enough.
It is not enough to hit the bull’s eye. You need to hit the infinitesimal, microscopic center, of the nucleus, of the atom at the center of the bull’s eye to satisfy the malcontent fan.
Morgan Freeman, when asked about what should be done about racism, had this to say: “Stop talking about it. There is no ‘White history month’. Why do you want a Black history month?” What good will talking about our poor performance do?
At no point am I suggesting that we turn our heads away from incompetence and lack of effort, or that we adapt a slacker shrug-it-off attitude. But there’s a way to deal with losses and it involves acceptance of the fact that you did all you could.And moving on. Beating yourself up will do no good.
Once we get into that frame of mind, we will be in a better position to appreciate the laurels our heroes are earning by just being a part of the Olympics.
(Written by Siddarth Sharma, with inputs from Zeba Changi)