Losing Well

Losing sucks. Losing sucks even more when you beat yourself. When you know that the other side didn’t best you. Instead you, your side, you stopped playing your game and gave in to the other side’s tactics. It is all the more crappy when you allow yourself to lose the lead and you’re unable to weather the desperate, scrappy, unpretty storm your opponent is throwing at you, trying to break you, trying to best you with anything they can do to get you off balance.

It might be much easier to look yourself in the mirror when you can acknowledge the other side was objectively better. You played well; your side played well; you lost. Losing still sucks.

No matter the circumstances, always act appropriately. Don’t talk shit and be snarky - that’s petty and weak. Actions speak louder than words and the beautiful thing about competition is the score board speaks the loudest. Don’t yell at the other side, the officials, the innocent bystanders, your own side. You control yourself, your emotions, your play. Nothing they do matters. Only what you do matters.

When the end comes and you are found wanting, when it hurts the most, when you are most bruised inside and out, shake the hands of every single person on the other side. Look them in the eye. Compliment them on the outcome. Walk away, do the same to your side, to the officials, to all those supporters.

In Rudyard Kipling’s poem, If, there are two verses that speak to losing perfectly:

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss

Of course, the result if you master these things:

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more —- you’ll be a Man, my son!

You lost. It sucks. Don’t be a bitch. Don’t make losing a habit, but do it well when you have to.