Wednesday, 26 April 2017

The Logic in Being Wrong.

Let’s say a sports team wins a match by scoring a fluke goal, even though the opposition played better. At the end of the game the coach is interviewed and says: ‘We didn’t play so well today, but I’ll take the win. A win is a win.’ I’ve heard it often. They really do say that.

That attitude is understandable in professional sport because professional sport, being an arm of the entertainment industry, is driven by and on behalf of moneyed interests. But I see it percolating down to all levels. I’ve heard it from school kids. Winning is everything comes the ubiquitous cry, and nobody seems to question it. So let’s ask the question: what is sport fundamentally about?

It’s about two things: it’s about putting your own ability to the test, and it’s about proving that you are better than the opposition. So if you play badly you’ve failed the first test, and if you win even though the opposition played better you've also failed the second. So how can winning be everything?

That’s why when I played sport I always said that I would rather play well and lose than play badly and win. Playing badly but still winning left a sour taste in the mouth because the purpose of the exercise was not achieved. It simply left me trespassing on the wrong step. To my mind, that’s just simple and unassailable logic. They said I was wrong then, and they say it with even more conviction now.

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