Day 4: We are sore losers

13 Feb


A certain Super Bowl-losing quarterback has been criticized in recent days for storming away from the post-game press conference. He didn’t seem to want to talk about the loss in the biggest game of his career. He had the audacity to be a sore loser.

All you media types (well, not counting me) and armchair quarterbacks…I’d like to introduce you to the Wray family.

Earlier today, my youngest daughter’s school junior varsity basketball team lost in the state championship game. And, although she was simply cheering them on, she let out some pretty emphatic sobs.

But, her sadness over that loss was pretty explainable.

So was the time that my now almost 20-year-old struck out to end a game in a softball world series being played at ESPN’s  Wide World of Sports at Disney World (sort of a big deal). She was inconsolable, as she found herself responsible for the team’s loss; anytime we tried to broach the subject, we were cut off boisterously. Six years later, that’s still off-limits for even casual conversation.

Certain situations involving losses in our family are a little bit harder to explain.

Like the Phase 10 Moratorium of 1999.

When my husband and I played one of our favorite card games with some friends and I later found out that he had let me win (because, apparently, I wasn’t happy when I lost), he found out just how unhappy (and mortified) I could be. And so we didn’t play the game for at least four years.

People find that silly, I guess.

Makes total sense to me.

I won’t even mention the fistacuffs that have almost erupted over chess matches and Monopoly (a game I don’t even like!) and Pictionary.

And let’s don’t even mention the stories of the grief that ensues after our favorite college or pro football team loses a big game. We aren’t playing, but we just as well could have been; so, we may or may not wear black for the following week.

Sore losers? Maybe.

I like to call us passionate would-be winners.

We’ve always encouraged competition in our family.

A favorite motto heard in our home is: “It’s not worth playing if you don’t play to win.”

That doesn’t mean that we haven’t learned great lessons in loss (after the sting goes away, there’s always invariably some sort of knowledge gained), and I strive to teach my kids to never be ugly toward your opponent (unless it’s a husband who lets you win at Phase 10).

Losing is tough. It should hurt. And it should get some sort of response out of you. (I secretly question parenting skills when a child emerges smiling from a defeated locker room.)

But, I may need to keep working on this.

I need to be more gracious, less bloodthirsty.

While I try to do that…want to join me for a game of Scrabble?




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