WINNING and losing

Blah. Its Wednesday, November 30, 2011, I'm needing some caffeine and this is The Side. had a nasty headache all day Sunday. Monday I had the headache hangover and felt like i was walking through cement all day. I'm still feeling out of sorts. However, there is work to be done, and work doesn't wait until you feel like doing it.

Neither does a blog.

Well, OK, yeah it does, but its a lot more dramatic if it didn't.


Competition is a good thing. While some people can get too into it, if pursued in a healthy manner in can serve to bring out the best in people. It can drive them to try harder. People like to be the best. I played sports growing up, mainly Soccer. I've trained in Karate since I was a kid. I've gotten plenty of first place trophies. I've come in dead last. I've been part of soccer teams that won their league championships, and I've been on teams that never won a single game. I was even in a bowling league and my team won the championship. I've been a loser, and I've been a winner.

Winning doesn't suck.

But its really easy to not like winners. And that has me wondering about the blow back from a really lopsided basketball game. Here's the quick version. Two middle school teams were in a basketball tournament. One school is bigger and is really talented. The other is kinda lucky to be able to field a team. The bigger school broke out to big lead very quickly. The coach pulled out the starting players. By half time the score was 70-0. The coach told his team to stop playing defense to give the other team a chance to score some points. The end score was 100-2. Now there's talk that the winning team might be forced to forfeit their season, because they won by such a huge score.

So, the message is: do your best, unless you're a lot better than that other person then you better not or you can't play anymore.

This is stupid. I deal with kids and competition. In the dojo the main competition is against yourself, and making yourself as good as you can be. When the gloves go on, we are training each other and trying to push each other to become better. If i have a brown belt fighting a white belt, then that brown belt controls his skills and techniques fighting down to a lower level but still pushing that lower ranked student. In open tournaments students are separated by rank and age. You go out, give it everything you've got and see what happens.

For years I fought one particular guy on the local tournament circuit. It seems like whenever we were in the same tournament we'd be matched against each other in round one. He nearly always beat me. He's a very good fighter, and excellent at point fighting. Every year, I'd just have to try harder. The last time we fought each other, I still lost, but everyone who saw that fight applauded. We were to the point that there was nothing left to prove to each other. We both knew and respected each other. There was only the application of our techniques and a demonstration of control and precision that impressed those around us. He made me a better fighter.

A sensei in the dojo is a lot like a coach. When I watch my students its my duty to point out mistakes and also the things they did right. The whole point is to make the kids better. When they compete, I'm thrilled if they win, but just as proud of them when they and if they don't, because they still went out there and gave it their all.

The focus in the instance of the basketball game is in the wrong place. The team that won did so because they were flat out better than the other team. That other team deserves the credit in going out there as underdogs and competing and doing their best. Hopefully the coaches will be able to use the experience to teach the team a few things and make a better team of them.

I know people seem to like to punish winners. It can't be "fair" that someone wins so big. That's life. If you want "fair" go play Candyland.


A fair fight? That would be the one I win.

That's it for me me. See y'all Friday.

No comments: