Friday, June 21, 2013

If not to win, why compete?

"Winning is not everything; it's the only thing." Vincent Lombardi.  If not to win, why compete?

History tell us that as man evolved, and became more civilized, he converted his skills of hunting into a sport, since hunting for his meat, furs, and fish life was no longer necessary to survive.

Men and women today shoot at targets rather than enemies as a sport, [unless at war] in competition in high school, college and the Olympics, as well as other competitive sporting events.

Competition, as a Nation, a team, or individual--pitting your athletic ability, skills, intelligence against your peers in sport--has always been a source of accomplishment, pride, self-worth, and yes,  often accompanied with the "Agony of defeat," yet few handle the last part of defeat very well.

A case on point.  Recently I've noticed in my circle of tennis playing friends competition has taken a new bent.   When each team has won a set, rather than play a third set, or play a tie-breaker, according to the rules, play is often just stopped.

As I see it, and perhaps, this stems from the newest educational phenomenon of "dumbing down America's society, and education."  Dumbing down our kids--who later become adults--because parents, and teachers alike are afraid to let their kids fail.  In Tennis, "Champions are born in the labor of defeat.

We are producing a lot of kids, and ["adults, as I see it, who look for short cuts...]"  The "no fail, "no win" approach to tennis does more harm than good," in society as well.  In Tennis, being an individual sport, you can be as good as you want to be.

My likeable, well meaning peers, who enjoy tennis play, but won't,  can't,  or claim either not to have the time, the need, nor the money--they say--to devote to improving their game to make them truly competitive.  Instead, they simply change partners to try to win, or agree to play only two sets, rather than play long enough to determine a winner;  or play only with their select foursome.

My observation has been many strong players will let the weaker player play the ad side, knowing that the strongr player would likely win more points on that side, and effect the outcome of the match favorable.

However, As I See it, if the stronger players are somewhat evenly matched, but one stronger player feels that the other weaker player might not be quite as weak as his, that player will often let the weaker player play the Ad court.  This way the stronger player saves face, because his partner allegedly insisted on playing the Ad court.

I know.  I've done my share of losing, and after losing, on the way home from an event, makes for a long trip, because a loss is a "disappointing companion."

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