When You Lose, Someone Else Wins
I could list a lot of ways to be a bad sport. In fact, I already did. All of those were big, bold, and obvious. There is, however, a form of poor sportsmanship that is so subtle that you may not have noticed it. It doesn’t happen on the field or the court, and fans are often more guilty of it than the actual participants. You’ve probably heard it in many forms:
“We lost because we played poorly.”
“We beat ourselves.”
“You can’t win if you play offense as badly as we did.”
Notice anything all of those statements are leaving out? Think about it—was there another team competing or not? Do you think that maybe you played poorly because they forced you to? Do you think that maybe the other team capitalized on your mistakes? Do you think that their defense could have had something to do with your poor offense?
When you say that I hear “We are so much better than our opponent that the only way they could possibly hope to win is for us to be off our game. Our team alone controls the outcome. They might as well stay home and we’ll call them and let them know how it turns out.”
In my opinion, those statements serve only to steal credit from a victorious opponent. I want to see a player being interviewed after a losing effort say “He beat me.” I would love to hear a fan of losing teams say “They were just better.” You don’t have to run yourself down in the process or build them up too highly, just be honest.
The bottom line is that even in a loss we are often so prideful that it makes us feel better to think we did something to lose rather than to think that someone else is better.
As you may remember, I am a fan of the New York football Giants. I wrote this on Friday and was planning on posting it this week while trying to live it out since they were playing against the Packers in the NFC Divisional Playoffs. I’m really excited to be able to wait until after the NFC Championship to take my own advice. And, as an added bonus, I got my wish. Did you hear Aaron Rodgers’ and Mike McCarthy’s post-game press conferences? Aaron Rodgers said “We got beat by a better team tonight and that’s the reality of this league.” Add in his refusal to throw his wide receivers under the bus despite the six drops and I have a lot of respect for Rodgers…if not his State Farm commercials.