Accepting Defeat

If most people in the world are like me, they don’t like to lose.

I grew up playing sports; a prime example of where winning is the ultimate goal. No one wants to come home in any place but first. You put in countless hours, you and your parents put in the money, and you sacrifice so much just to be able to play the sport you love. What better payoff is there than a big win or a championship title.

Earlier this evening, my friend and I went back to our high school to watch our old team take on our old cross-town rivals. The game was expected to be a close one as both teams were undefeated on the season. As a matter of fact, my high school has been undefeated for, as of tonight, 69 games straight over the course of three seasons. (The previous two seasons ended with state championship titles) Since the home bleachers were filled to the max, my friend and I ended up sitting at the very top of the visiting student section. About four minutes into the game, five more of our friends from high school joined us. My dad is an avid sports follower and thus, he was at the game as well. He always sits on the visiting team’s side of the gym just to take it all in from a different perspective (or so I assume). Since he didn’t want to seem nosey and bug my friends and I, he moved across the aisle and down two rows and ended up sitting next to a lady rooting for the other team.

Throughout the game, the lady became very heated and was consistently up and down while cheering and booing. My dad is also a very active spectator and was equally as up and down as she was. However, it became fairly evident who was rooting for who as they stood at totally opposite times. About midway through the second quarter, as the visiting team started catching up and eventually pulled ahead of my school, the lady started not only standing up and cheering, but also making faces and nagging my dad. My friend Sammy was the first to notice it and I thought nothing of it at the time. However, towards the end of the game, when our team ended up pulling ahead and winning it after all, the lady continued to make these comments and faces at my dad who was minding his own business.

Finally, at the conclusion of the game, the lady decided to strike up a fight with my dad. The only problem was my dad wasn’t interested. He heard her out, let her nag all she wanted, complimented her team, and listened to her nag some more. She commented on his height saying that he was pretty short. Now my dad is not the tallest man out there. He’s probably around 5’8″. She then proceeded to tell him that his jeans were pretty tight and said he was a bit chunky. Now, this lady was a bit well-fed herself. I mean, she easily weighed more than my dad, not to be rude or anything; just stating a fact. This was when my dad decided to change the topic and tell her that her team put up a good fight and they were still a good team. One loss wouldn’t hurt them. She then went on blaming the referees for blowing the game when there were very few questionable calls at all. My dad was able to avoid any more scrutinizing from the lady by walking away to me as I was leaving.

The fact that this sort of bullying still happens between adults is ridiculous to me. Do we really need to put other people down just to feel better about ourselves? Do we need to make excuses for why we didn’t succeed rather than just admit it wasn’t our game and move on? Why can’t we accept defeat? Especially when it comes to high school athletics. I’m sorry, I don’t mean to offend anyone, but high school sports aren’t the most important thing in the world. Why can’t we all just enjoy a good game of basketball and let all the business be taken care of on the court between the players rather than off the court between the spectators. 

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