Win or lose, but be a sport

  • Charu N Thakur, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Aug 06, 2014 10:01 IST

My sons are not top class tennis players. But every time they go out to play a match, my blessing is that they enjoy the game. And even if they lose, they get a prize; not for losing, but for playing the game sportingly. Once when my son, won a match; I was surprised and asked him, "Did you enjoy it?" "Of course," he replied, looking exasperated. "Winning feels wonderful! Mom, you have no concept of tennis."

It is not about tennis, it's about the undue importance given to winning. I was taken aback by angry reactions that followed the recent 1-7 loss of Brazil to Germany in the semi-final of the recent Fifa World Cup. Why condemn the team? Why create such a fuss over a loss? Aren't we all human? Can't the other team be better? In any case, one team has to lose.

It's not only in sports, today in every field, be it academic, music, art, politics; only winning counts. However, often it is found in academics that the topper of a batch does not get the best pay package.

Why is winning all that matters? Perhaps because it brings fame and money. But such notions are also created by people. If say, the runner-up got the same fame and money, would losing be such a bad idea? In fact when after a long process of eliminations, two opponents face each other at the final stage; both are equally matched; and winning or losing is just a matter of "having a good or bad day". At the Wimbledon final recently, Roger Federer lost to Novak Djokovic but that does not take away the fact that he is one of the greatest tennis players of all times, and in my opinion much better than the winner.

As far as I know, Einstein did not "win" any contest nor did Mother Teresa, for that matter. The greatest peace apostle of the last century, Mahatma Gandhi, never won the Nobel Peace Prize, but is that relevant to the greatness of the Father of the Nation? And if money is the criteria, tennis player Maria Sharapova, with only five Grand Slams in her kitty, earns much more than Serena Williams with 17 Grand Slam titles.

In the competition to win, one loses sight of the beautiful journey. Happiness is more important than success. It's the little ups and downs of life that keep the journey interesting. But if happiness hinges on the constant wish to win; then go ahead, participate with all the might, enjoy the competition; and heaven forbid, if the game is lost; then come out smiling; ready to take on another challenge.

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