Stazjia’s Commentary

Show me a Good Loser…

Posted on: August 11, 2008

…and I’ll show you a loser.

This seems to be the British, or maybe just the English, disease. We have it drummed into us when we are young that if we win we shouldn’t gloat but be gracious and generous to those we’ve beaten. If we lose, we shouldn’t throw a tantrum and try to punch the winner. It’s called being a good sport. It’s a high praise, or it used to be, here in England. “Oh he’s such a good sport,” people would say admiringly. What other nation would be so happy with Eddie the Eagle, the English ski-jumper who was hopeless, to put it mildly. We cheered if he managed to land standing up, we didn’t actually expect him to jump a decent, let alone winning, distance.

Tim Henman is another example. He never won Wimbledon, yet we still have ‘Henman Hill’ there. Why? Shouldn’t it be Federer Heights or Sampras Ledge or McEnroe Mount? After all, those people have all won at Wimbledon. Every year there was great speculation in newspapers and on TV about if this was the year Henman could win. Huh! It never was and we all knew it.

He was a nice guy and nice guys finish last! Well, not invariably but quite often. Winners have to have some steel in them and a burning desire to win, not just play the game well and be a good sport.

When the BBC interview some of the British Olympics team, often they ask “Do you think you can get a medal?” Some reply, “Just getting here is an achievement, getting a medal would be a bonus.” I want to scream at the TV, “No it wouldn’t. The idea of going to the Olympics is to win.” OK, not everybody can win but the ones who do win, are often the ones who say something along the lines of “I’m going to give it my best shot and all my training for the last few months has been aimed at getting a medal.” That’s pretty much what Nicole Cooke said before she won the gold medal for the Women’s Road Race for Britain yesterday.

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