Monday, March 7, 2011

Being a good loser

Derval O Rourke on right Getty Images
The European Indoor athletic championships took place this weekend in Paris. Irish runner Derval O Rourke was just pipped, coming in 4th in the 60m final. Running a personal best for the season, she couldn't catch the winners who all ran personal bests on the day. 

I've posted before on O' Rourke here, mainly because I admire her attitude. We have a tendency in this country - maybe in yours too? -  to always look for an excuse when we lose. O' Rourke does mention her injuries but always takes it on the chin. She posted up her blog: "I represented myself well and am holding my head high. I know with some non interrupted training in that I am capable of going very very fast indoors. hopefully that day will come."

There are always reasons for a loss in sports - injury, illness, interupted training, family life - but it seems better to me to just accept it and move on. Maybe it's the media drive to interview athletes at their most vulnerable in the seconds after a loss but surely we don't expect to win every time? Sometimes we are just not good enough and need to take that on board so we can improve for the next time.

Personally I hated losing, in boxing it's a public beating really, and always just wanted to crawl away and lick my wounds. Not matter what excuses you come up with, the result stands.

What do you think when you hear athletes or managers giving complex excuses for losing?


Lisa Creech Bledsoe said...

You have me thinking. Excuses for losing. I think women who are serious about their sport are forever evaluating our performance. Maybe not in those first painful seconds/minutes after a loss, but beyond that -- we think, What went wrong? How did it happen? What can I refine or change or improve?

But like you said, everyone loses sometimes. It's part of the game. So yeah, I think our best policy is to look at the loss, take away anything helpful we can, and move on.

And doing that *gracefully* is an important thing to be able to do.

niamh said...

Doing it gracefully seems to be hard for some people. It is maybe the public aspect of sport which catches people on the hop; if you have a bad day at the office then hardly anyone knows but when you lose a fight or a race in front of thousands of people maybe it's just too hard to be magnanimous. I'd like to think we can try!