With the Lakers out of the NBA playoffs, I have noticed that I really don’t care much about watching the games anymore.
I mean, I’ll still watch the games if they are on at a convenient time for me and I have nothing else to do, but I certainly don’t go out of my way to try and catch the games. Do I really love the Lakers that much that I stopped caring about the entire game of basketball just because they lost, or is it my deep hatred for losing that caused this to happen?
This question got me thinking about how big of a factor winning and losing really does play in my life.
Ever since I was a little kid I have hated losing. Actually, “hate” is an understatement. More like, “despise.”
Striking out in a little league baseball game had the potential to ruin my entire week. Oh, and you really didn’t want to be around me if I was the last out of the game.
The worst part about losing as a kid was having all the parents clap and tell me, “Good game, Jake.” No, if it was a good game we would have won. I would have much rather have had them tell me, “You’ll get ‘em next time,” or anything except, “Good game.”
There is honestly, in my opinion, nothing worse than losing. Anyone who knows me knows that it doesn’t matter if I’m playing football, pick-up basketball, XBOX, bowling, pool, Ping-Pong, hell, I don’t care if I’m playing a friendly game of checkers, I’m going to give it everything I have to win. “Hello, you play to win the game.” (I really hope all of you understand that quote.)
What I don’t understand is how people try and convince themselves that losing isn’t that big of a deal. Hearing people say things like, “As long as I’m having fun I don’t care if I win,” or, “I gave it my all so I have no regrets,” makes me sick to my stomach.
My high school basketball coach told me the only way to spell “fun” is W-I-N.
People always ask me why I get so mad after losing. They say, “Relax, it’s just a game. Winning isn’t everything,” I absolutely loathe when people say that to me. If winning isn’t everything then why do we keep score? Why even play?
If you accept losing at the little aspects of life, you will learn to accept losing at life in general. You’ll accept losing a job interview, a promotion, maybe even your husband or wife.
Where does the line get drawn? Vince Lombardi once said, “Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all-time thing. You don’t win once in a while, you don’t do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time. Winning is habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.”
By the way, I realize that this is two columns in a row that I have quoted Lombardi, and I promise it’s just a coincidence. The point is that losing can, and will, become a habit and even a culture if you allow it to, and I refuse to ever have that happen to me.
With that being said, I can also admit that you learn a lot more from losing than you do from winning. Winning feels great for a little while, sure. But the regret of losing will stick with you for much, much longer. With every loss comes a feeling of guilt, accountability and the thought, “I never want to feel this way again.” (Hopefully the Lakers are feeling that way right now).
I will never forget the way I felt when I lost in the final round of the fourth grade spelling bee.
I was going against my best friend and rival, Dominic Primerano. The word was “captivated.” “Captivated, C-A-P-T-E-V-A-T-E-D,” I said, confidently. “No, I’m sorry Jacob but that is incorrect. Congratulations, Dominic, that means you’re our spelling bee champion this year,” Mrs. Huntone said.
At the time, my pride made sure I didn’t show others how the loss affected me. I couldn’t let them know that I actually cared. Plus, I was always taught to be a graceful loser and give credit where credit is due, and Dominic beat me fair and square.
But when I got home, I cried and cried and cried until I had no more tears left. That day was the day I realized that losing is the worst feeling ever, and I never wanted to feel that way again.
Just writing about this brings back the agony. Why in the world would I try and spell it with an “e” and not an “i”? See, the pain of losing lasts much longer than the glory of winning.
I have no problem admitting that I hate losing way more than I love winning.
If you ask any great competitor such as Derek Jeter, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant or Ray Lewis, I am 100 percent sure they feel the same way. I’d also be willing to bet that they would say that their hatred for losing is the main reason they have been so successful throughout their careers. Hopefully someday I’ll be able to say the same thing.
Seeing as though this is the last column that I will ever write for The Highland Echo, I need to give some shout-outs before I wrap this up.
First, I want to congratulate every senior that is graduating this May. The past four years have flown by, and I’m glad I got to spend them at MC with the class of 2013. Time truly does have wings.
Secondly, I need to thank every teacher, coach, teammate, cheerleader, athletic trainer, friend, tutor and even cafeteria worker that has supported me and helped me throughout the past four years of my life. I am truly blessed and thankful for all of you.
There is not enough time in the week for me to give specific names, but you know who you are.
Lastly, I want to thank everyone that actually reads this column and say good luck to all those entering the next chapter of their lives after this school year.
ScotsNation for life!