“It’s not whether you win or lose; it’s how you play the game.” We’ve all heard that bromide, especially when we were just starting out as young athletes.
Well, it does matter who wins. Any time a score is kept, the result of the competition matters to people. And there is very much that is very good about trying to win – giving one’s best effort to prepare for and execute a victory. Trying to win is much better than not trying to win. Sloppy effort does not benefit the participants, or anybody else for that matter.
And this unveils the deeper truth of that tiresome platitude: how you play the game is more important than who wins the game.
One of many events that proves this point to me is a football game played late in the season nearly two decades ago. A team from the east side of our state played against a team from the west side. I don’t remember the final score. I don’t remember which team won the game. But I do remember that there was an ugly incident at the end of the game.
How that game was played in its closing moments has stayed with me for longer than who was victorious.