So I participated in two separate competitions recently, them having nothing to do with each other, which also explains why I have basically disappeared off the internet for a week or so. It’s not something I do very often, but it does happen from time to time. One of them I won, over ~ 10 other contestants as an individual, and the other one I lost, as part of a team, to another team. The one I won was me doing something I’m very passionate about, but ended up not giving enough focus on the end product. The one I lost was me doing something I don’t enjoy very much, but ended up putting a lot of effort. I suppose I can use this to gauge just how much passion means to me on a micro scale, but that’s not what I’m here for.
The feeling of having lost a competition, whether directly or as part of a group, is received differently by people. I have to specify that this does not at all cover luck-based raffles or such triviality. My feelings of losing, not so much of winning, is the same across the board, whether or not I actually put a lot of effort into the result or not. I always do something I feel that is just enough to win, and I’m wrong quite often. However, many take losing much more, or less, seriously. There’s always a degree of humility and social practices that has to be taken into account, as many would much rather not outwardly display the full extent of their emotions when it comes to the result. I am one of them, although to a lesser extent of being polite but more of being far too self aware. That is, however, when we get to this phrase “sore loser”.
The person(s) who lost should be called a loser(s). I’m sure decades of feel-good baby boomers propaganda has somewhat shaped people’s perception differently, but I am pretty sure I was a loser. That is the definition of the word, and I am ashamed to admit that it hurts somewhat. Sure, saying I had high hopes of winning from the start would be a bit of a stretch, but saying I did not care at all is definitely not true. In the end, I lost, and I did not at all feel good about it. However, it made me ask myself: am I what is called a “sore loser”. Did I think my team should have won? Yes. Did I think the judges made the wrong decision? I don’t know. Did I think the other team could have not done better than what I did? Absolutely not. I have excuses, but I don’t actually have anyone to blame for the loss. Why did we lose? To this day I don’t know, nor do I intend to find out.
They say it’s a behaviour of bad sportsmanship if you don’t accept the loss fully. Believe me that I know fully well what a truly bad mannered competitor is capable of saying, being a part of many team competitions, both sports and video games mind you, throughout the years. People are willing to shift blames at an astounding rate, as such I have grown resilient to such bullshit. It would be too much of a conformist opinion if I were to end there, however. Sometimes, things happen. Randomness happens, sub-obtimal change in environment of competition happens, unforeseeable changes occur all the time. When it comes to a team context, however, this is taken into an entirely different level. People win or lose as a team, but they cannot possibly make contributions everything to the success of the team, thus if the team loses, they cannot all take the blame. There are times when the mistake made is quite obvious, and we then see the person responsible being verbally lynched, essentially. Other times, things are not quite as transparent, and no one feels like it was them who made the wrong call, who did the wrong move, who reacted wrongly. It’s hard to be able to accept the truth, that you might have been responsible. It takes quite the person to be able to gauge yourself objectively after a result.
But what if they’re right?
What if it really wasn’t their fault? What if a coin flip essentially decided the end result? What if it really was their teammate being under-par, and there was nothing they could have done? As bitter as they might sound, if it is really the truth, then why are they still being called “sore loser”, which has never been anything less than a negative term. They are deemed to be bad-mannered, whereas others would have accepted the defeat more gracefully. No one has ever looked back at the process. Sometimes people are told they should not mess with the results should it be fair, regardless of whether or not they “deserved” it or not, because the result cannot change. If that is so, then what are they supposed to do? Moving on with their lives is the easy way out, I suppose, and many would like to see others taking the same stance. However, explaining yourself to shield from criticism, especially when they are unwarranted, should not be a bad thing. It merely speaks to the greater truth, which is a concept so woefully lost, because it takes people out of their comfort zone. We have become so aggressively passive in acceptance, that as far as a non-scientific construct is concerned, the truth is no longer important. What apparently is important is to push others forward, to shift things back to the status quo, so everyone can go back to doing the same thing they do everyday, and has been doing for years and years.
I would call in complacency, but that would somehow imply that’s not a natural part of being humans. The virtues we made for ourselves far exceed the capacity of influence on the masses, but maybe that’s all it’s good for.