Saturday, February 2, 2013

Playing games.

It doesn't matter if you win or lose, it's how you play the game.

I have had this saying rattling around in my head for more than a week now.  I have even written a blog on the topic, more than once, in my head.  Usually it was  while I was lying in bed, desperately trying to go to sleep.  Yeah, that wasn't working out so well.  Anyway, all of last week went by and no blogs were actually committed to type, and this little gem is still rattling around my brain.  I decided to look it up on google and see if I could source an author for it.  Turns out it is one of those mysterious ones  for which no one is leaping to take credit.  Author Unknown.  Hmmmm.

I did, however, find it among some Motivational Sports Quotations.  This was one them: "It doesn't matter if you try and try and try again, and fail. It does matter if you try and fail, and fail to try again." ~Charles Kettering.  As an aside, I like this quote ever so much better.  But, it isn't what I am actually here to talk about.  This isn't the quote that has been buggering my brain.  So, moving on...

The first quote (the one at the top of the page) is simply not true.  I know that the intent is designed to be true, but it is not true.  I do believe that it matters how you play the game.  If you don't play the game with integrity, then it doesn't matter if you win.  Even in winning, you lose.  But that first part is what I take issue with, because it matters.  We all care about winning.  I would say that it is a stigma isolated to this country, but is NOT.  And if you doubt me, look at how all of the countries that train for the Olympic World Games.  Competition is a fierce thing.  Medaling is important.  At the end of the day, it is all about who medaled.  What country has the most Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals.  What individual has broken World Records in Medals.  It is about Winning.  They do not devote talk time for Losers.  It does matter if you win or lose, and no one cares how the lowest scoring person played the game.  Sorry.  They don't.  This is all about Winners. 

Frankly, this quote is another lie we perpetrate onto ourselves and our children when we LOSE.  I do believe that I have used this one as a salve when I didn't win at something.  And it made me feel better for about ten seconds and then I all I wanted to do was either practice harder so I would be better next time, or quit because it wasn't my "thing."  Ergo, I really needed to move on and find my talent so I could stop wasting my time on something I didn't enjoy all that much.  Failure makes you decide how badly you want something.  Failure is a good thing.  We all should fail at something at least once.  And we should not relax in idiotic phrases like the one above to enjoy it.  If we played our best game, or did our best, then we can satisfy ourselves with that.  It is all about HOW you played the game.  Did you enjoy the game?  Is it for you?  Do you want to keep on playing?  Do you want to push yourself to do better?

It's always about whether you win or lose.  Winning and losing help us navigate this thing called Life.  And if you think that it doesn't matter, that only tells me you've never won anything.

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  1. I do agree with what you said about winning (although 'winning' makes me think about Charlie mind's one big pop-cultural swamp...or, ok, jelly), but I think that quote has a good thing to it, too. I believe it's for people who are afraid to take part in the game at all. And by game I don't mean life, because when it comes to life - no one's asking as if we want to participate. We're just thrown into it...or, maybe pushed out into it, actually.


    What I mean is, it's for people who are so scared of failure they'd rather do nothing than try. They'd rather stay out of everything, paralysed with their fear of defeat, mistake, humiliaton. Or - like it used to be my case - fear in general, fear of everything, the worst kind, undefined yet so life-threatening.

    So, for those people it's better to assume that not-winning is not important, because for those people taking the part in the game itself is winning.

    Do you see where I'm going with this? :)

    1. I do see where you are going. That is why I like the Charles Kettering quote better that I posted in the blog. I find it much more inspirational to make someone try.

      I think that the first quote is actually a lie because we all know (deep inside) that winning does matter. If it didn't matter we wouldn't have so many Awards Shows and there wouldn't be Playoffs to have a "Winner" in every major sporting event each year. Winning matters. And then we have someone that we pronounce as The Best within each sport. So, not only do we have a best Sports Team, but we All Stars within each sport. And we monitor every player's stats to determine who is "best" within the sport. And we do the same in the Entertainment Industry. Oscars, Golden Globes, People's Choice, and the list goes on. And that is just for the professionals who everyone is looking at... that we model on. We KNOW that winning matters.

      The flip side of this is that how you play the game is everything. Winning with no honor, or winning by cheating is worse than anything... case in point, look at Lance Armstrong. He was a hero in the eyes of so many. And then when everyone found out he won by doping, he lost it all.

      And I am not saying that there is nothing to be gained from FAILURE. There is EVERYTHING to be gained from failure. Failure is the catalyst to make you try harder because you know you can be better or it will make you change direction. Not trying at all is the worst thing you can do. Changing course is good. Working harder is good. Not trying or giving up... well, that is how you play the game, isn't it? And if you decide to NOT play because you lost... well, no one admires that.

      That is why I like the how you play the game part... but the rest... not so much.

      For the record, you have never given up. Even when you were paralyzed with fear, you never stepped out of the game. You may have rested. You may have even thought about it. But you never did it. You may have changed courses, but you always got back in. This is who we are... we don't give up. I can't remember now the word you used, but you know exactly what I am talking about here. Remember?

  2. One of our sports teams while I was still teaching had a t-shirt that said "second place is the first loser". I do think losing has important lessons for us. It has been a mistake in education to take the "everybody makes the team and gets a ribbon" attitude. One year at school every girl who tried out for cheerleader got to be a cheerleader. We have kids who graduate from high school thinking everything they do is wonderful. We do need to recognize the strengths of different kids. Everybody is not an athlete. Perhaps music or art or academics - it's all good. I read an article once about kids who didn't want to play sports because of the way their parents acted at games. I know of coaches who quit coaching because of the parents. We have become a "grade on the curve" nation and it's showing in how we rank compared to other nations in things like math and science. Our educational system is in dire need of overhaul. This is evidenced by the number of parents who are home schooling, or sending their kids to charter schools, or enrolling their kids in Christian schools. America is failing. I don't think we can turn it around. I hope I am wrong. Take care.

    1. Absolutely. Not doing something well is just important as doing something well. It gives us direction. Making everyone mediocre by giving everyone a ribbon is not the goal of society... or it doesn't seem to me it should be unless you want a mediocre society.

      Allowing kids to fail gives them the direction to ultimately discover success!!!

  3. I'll have to think about this further and return to post a better comment, because this dredges up a lot of "junk" for me. I'm a loser and I finally recognized that fact and decided to Drop Out (although I never "Turned On and Tuned In").

    One reason that I like the Tom Petty line "Even the losers get lucky sometimes" is because I can relate to it so well.

    I don't know . . . I played the game fairly but I fairly failed at it.

    I saw the photograph of the 'LIFE' game on my Dashboard and thought this blog bit was going to be about board games. I thought it would be fun, not . . . depressing (to me).

    Later . . . maybe.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

    1. I am going to disagree with you about being a Loser. People who are Losers are people who quit trying. They just decide to be mediocre, unproductive people who have nothing to contribute to society. You can fail at all manner of things before you succeed. You don't need a college degree to succeed. All it requires it not giving up. If you haven't given up, you haven't failed.

      I hope you read the previous comments. "Failure" is just another opportunity to try something else. "Failure" is a catalyst to work harder.

      "Supposing you have tried and failed again and again. You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call 'failure' is not the falling down, but the staying down." ~Mary Pickford

  4. You have a valid point! It is about winning - and succeeding. We want to win the game of life. We don't want to get to end and look back thinking "That was a waste."
    And the only way you learn to win is by losing. When games are played with no score or winners or losers, what does that really teach our kids? When they hit reality, they'll find out there are always losers and that life isn't fair - and they won't be prepared for it.

    1. Yes. Failure is like a map to help them navigate Life. Failure helps them discover what their STRENGTHS are. Failure and success gives them that wonderful opportunity to know what they are meant to do what their lives... to know what they are actually GREAT at. Yes. Yes. Yes. To everything you said. Yes.

  5. The entertainment awards are for the red carpet . Ha ha
    Lance Armstrong must have won the award for the prize Narcissist. I think my biking son looked up to him. Too bad.

    I'm pretty far out of the school loop, but don't they now teach, "not winning." Just be part of the group. Don't have school proms because there might be one girl who can't afford a prom dress and she would feel bad. In elementary school, they don't get grades, just smiley's and stars..... don't want to make any little kid unhappy. I may be talking about things I don't even know about because we don't have kids in our family anymore.... only what I read. Some one can enlighten me if I'm wrong.

    1. In elementary school they are still handing out actual grades. Now, with that said, they just revised the Florida grading system state-wide to grade on the curve by race. They were able to rationalize this according to how students have performed on the standardized tests for the last so many years blah blah blah. And what they found - on average Asians performed best, so they now have to work harder than anyone else to get their "A" and that either blacks or hispanics performed worst (I can't remember). So they can actually get the equivalent of a "C" or "D" and still get an "A" according to this new system. It is a huge curve. It is a terrible curve and not fair to anyone. All of the parents across the state of Florida are angry. Asians are mad because their kid has to work harder to get a grade that now means more than someone else's but looks the same. Whites are angry because they were next and also have to work harder for a grade that means more. Blacks and hispanics are also angry because this system is essentially saying that their kids are stupid. And they are right; it is. I would be furious if I were black or hispanic. Florida has, once again, screwed the pooch. You can't try to make all the animals equal without crapping all over everyone. You have to let people be WHO THEY ARE. You must let them succeed and fail. You can't help if you don't know where they are struggling. Really.Bad.Idea. The Real World is still waiting. All you have done here is create a House of Cards to fall in on these kids when they leave it. I repeat: Really.Bad.Idea.

      I don't know what is happening in other states. But, I am sure once they hear about FL's Brilliant Idea, others will surely want to try it. Excellent way to make people SUCCEED. Woohoo!!!! And no one is thinking beyond a grade on a piece of paper. ::sigh::

    2. Doesn't that smack of racism all over again? The brightest kids should be together because they need stimulation from other bright kids. Only one of my kids actually graduated from high school BUT they are all engineers and one lawyer. They just got bored with school and quit. I admit that worried me for a while.... Was I going to have all hobos to ride the rails for the rest of their lives and sometimes come home to Mother's and live in her basement. But after a few years of ... usually being ski bums they all went back to school. Just took the GED first. Sometimes when kids do that, they get trapped into a life they didn't particularly want and never go back to school. And I certainly think there are some kids who would benefit more from a vocational school. And good money, too. Have you called a plumber or electrician lately?

    3. Actually, I think it does smack of racism. I think that the higher ups in the FL School System are calling it Equal Opportunity. I don't know what they are thinking. They are setting up these minority kids to fail in the real world. School is this bubble, an illusion that isn't real, but the kid doesn't know it. How is that FAIR??? I would think that an EDUCATOR would know that. Moving on...

      Interesting story about your kids. I think that happens to some really bright kids. They now have magnet schools and that does help ~ sometimes ~ if you can get your kid placed there. Most of those kids do tend to go back to school, and I am glad that was the case with yours:)

      I am a HUGE believer in vocational school. There are great jobs there. And most homeowners eventually need someone who is "specialized" in some way or another. I truly do not recommend anyone tackling their electricity without knowing anything about it. Good way to kill yourself. Depending on the plumbing issue... yep, you could very well find yourself in need of a plumber. Right now I have a situation that is iffy. I have a leak in my shower that I am trying to get a handle on. However, I am really worried that it is BEHIND THE WALL. If that is the case, a plumber will be coming out. I don't plan on demo'ing a wall and tackling pipe myself. That is way beyond my knowledge base. Fortunately, we bought this house with a warranty (American Home Shield). Looks like it might very well be coming in handy...

  6. I totally see where you are going with this.
    So many things we try don't work out and yet help us to hone who we are and where we want to go with this thing called 'life'. Yes, I have learned a lot from the things I have failed at and yet the things that are a 'win' truly define in such a deep way and can allow us to find the talents that we are really meant to use.
    If we are just satisfied with playing the game, so much is lost in the process. Of course we can never be all competitive all the time. We should want and strive for the wins that are important to what we have to offer the world. Giving in to just surviving doesn't allow for our true fulfillment.

    1. Maybe I should get you to write this blog! Yes, that is exactly what I was trying to say:)

  7. Robin: What is failure? I have never experienced it. The closest I have come must be the hundreds of times I have not yet achieved my goals. Please help me understand the concept.

    1. Thank you for making my point in yet another way...


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