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Oct 28

The Concept of Winning – Part 2

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Tennis Great, Billie Jean King’s attitude was based on her interpretation and personal meaning of ‘contest.’ It is similar to Far East philosophy, which considers competition to be an ‘art form.’ There is probably no other athletic engagement that challenges the body, mind and soul triangle more than ‘Marshal Arts.’ It expects a visible respect for the opponent, the athletic contest itself, homage toward the coach and the referee. It is indeed the test for courage and skill against an opponent of equal measure. Now the previous self-test scenario makes a transition here from test to contest. One has found ‘another’ with whom one can share the testing situation. A commitment is made by each side to attempt to better the ‘other’s’ performance. It symbolizes the Latin ‘cum petare’ – seeking together or seeking with one another…or ‘competare’ – aspiring together. Within this interpretation, the opponent provides the opportunity to measure oneself. At the finish of such contest that opponent therefore deserves the gracious acceptance, whether in victory or defeat. There is absolutely no place for humiliation or poor attitudes.

 

Once upon a time, the common ‘handshake’ symbolized the act of competition before and after the sports event. Nowadays, many USA schools and club teams no longer permit that gesture because violence on and off the field is displayed by losing teams. In other words, we no longer know to win or lose gracefully. Some athletes even ignore to come to the victory podium in elite events to accept second place because “that’s not good enough and everyone hates a loser” (quote) or they throw their medals away in front of the public. Never mind that some have temper tantrums on public television without showing any remorse about potential impact on young viewers. What we are trying to establish hereby is the fact that there are enormous impressions made with our attitude toward winning or losing not only on the playing field but also for life pursuit.

 

Winning on the other hand is an integral part of the adolescent experience or in youth sports when the participants are ages 14 and older. Although even here winning should be considered as the by-product of ‘all things done well and some luck’ (sport always contains a 50:50 chance element). For example, many professional teams absolutely ‘have to win.’ They fail to do so because the focus solely or frantically on winning rather than on executing all tasks at hand to secure such outcome.

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