More than a Game - October 5, 2021

2009-tennis-ball-CH-largeWhen you lose, the first thing you must do is understand what happened. Your opponent won more points in a game called tennis than you did. It is a game invented by people for people. It is a game with manmade rules like Checkers or Poker. This perspective has been totally lost in our society today. We’ve put athletics and its top athletes into a high-status category like those who have won the Nobel Peace Prize. They are not.

Next, we should know that losing is not a reflection on your worth to society. It is not an evaluation of you as a person. It is not something we need to explain to anyone, nor should we even try. It is a loss in a game and nothing more. You should feel no worse than if you lost a game of “Rock, Paper, Scissors,” which is just a game too.

Most importantly the goal of competing is not to be able to rate yourself in comparison to others who play the same game. It is not to receive a prize for winning a game. It is not to entertain those watching. The game is about
what happened in the arena, not the outcome from the arena.

What we remember is who won, not what happened during the competition. This is just the reverse of what the game is designed to do. We must not flaunt the victor and disregard the loser. Yet this is exactly what society has done. The winner is paraded off to adulation and the loser dishonored and forgotten.

The original design of the man-made game was to conceive a competition whereby individuals playing would be better for playing. In other words, they would develop character and teamwork skills by playing the game. For example, football was invented to build teamwork and cultivate selflessness. Those playing the game would be better simply because they played. It was not who won that mattered but what was learned in the process of the game that mattered.

Losing made little if no difference because it was not the goal of the man-made activity. Winning or losing told little of the teamwork and selflessness that occurred in the game of football when it was first invented. Today, the ultimate football game is the Super Bowl and how far it has fallen from this original design. The same mentality holds for the game of tennis.

In short who won the match will be forgotten in 10 years; however, what happened in the match, and how it formed us as a person, will be seen by others in 10 years.