I s it just me, or are Monday's generally more depressing when the Steelers lose on Sunday? And is it even worse when Penn State has also fallen on Saturday? And, say it isn't so, your high school team has also stumbled on Friday?
Our society places a great deal of emphasis on winning. In fact, Amazon lists more than 400,000 books on the topic, ranging from the financial section: "Winning on Wall Street" to the diet category: "Winning by Losing." We use the term winning in a variety of ways, from the idea of scoring more points in a sports contest to the description of a pleasant personality. But is winning everything?
In some youth sports circles the idea of winning is totally taboo. Non-competitive programs have become popular, where children are not even told the final score of a game; there are no teams labeled the winner or loser after an event.
Joe Paterno has been quoted as saying"The will to win is important, but the will to prepare is vital." It could be argued that we learn more from our losses than our wins in life; defeat is not failure unless we fail to capitalize on the opportunity to improve ourselves or our situation.
That is little consolation for the Nittany Lions after Saturday night's upset to Iowa.
Winning may not be everything, but losing can certainly be devastating when one college football loss could ruin your chances at the national championship. In the NFL, one loss could mean the difference between making the playoffs, or not, or the chance to play in front of your home crowd throughout the postseason.
Motivational speaker Willie Spears, a high school football coach among other things, describes each person as not a winner or loser, per se, but rather as a "chooser"; we each decide our own destiny and shape our own world views. Being a winner or loser depends on our own opinions and actions. A loss can be a win, depending on our perspective, and vice-versa.
If unranked Iowa had lost by just three points on Saturday night to fifth-ranked Penn State, in the packed white house of Beaver Stadium, would that not have been a win of sorts for the Hawkeyes?
The Detroit Lions just celebrated their first victory since December 2007, and watching the end of the game, you would have thought they had won the Super Bowl. Ironically, they now have the same record as the defending World Champion Steelers, much to the dismay of black and gold fans. The Lions and Steelers probably look at their lone wins this season in very different lights.
In sports, there is usually a next week or a next year to look forward to, and many of us are already hoping our teams will things around this weekend.
Winning may not be everything, but it sure beats the alternative.
Kellie Goodman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her column appears every Tuesday.