Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I am told that it is important to know how to lose with dignity. This is called sportsmanship. I understand the concept, but the problem is that I really hate losing. I can put on a good face but in reality I despise every part of it.

I hate losing when I'm playing a game. I hate when the team I"m rooting for loses.

If you have been following along you know I'm a big OU fan. You should also know that they went to the NCAA National Championship game again this year. Actually it is impressive the number of times they have been to the big game since Stoops took over. A total of 5 trips in 10 years but only one win. That is beyond frustrating. I can't just smile and shake someone's hand. It makes me ill to lose.

In college I took racquetball for a required PE credit. I am competitive and pushed myself despite being severely overweight at the time. The coach insisted on pairing the better players with the worse players for doubles to "even the odds." I hated it. I was yelling at one of the guys I was paired with because, despite being in much better shape than me, he would stroll around the court generally getting in my way and causing us to lose. His response, "chill man it is just a game." Sure it might be a game but I want to win. More than that we are graded on how we play and I want an "A." He was costing me two wins.

The fact is that I desire to win, and I think it is a good thing to be honest. Sure we teach kids that they should be happy to play. they have entire leagues that won't even keep score so no one will have their feelings hurt, but in the real world we are playing a game and it is not something we can afford to lose.

I look at the church in America and most Christians think that there is no score at the end of the game. They forget that we are in a race to the finish, and quite frankly there is no second place. We must push on because the prize is our very soul, and the soul of everyone around us.

I hate to lose and I hate to see people lose. That is my passion. It is the passion that will drive me and the passion that will keep me. It is the reason I get up and preach when I'm sick and tired of telling people the same thing to watch them not listen all over again. I know that if I keep pushing and praying then eventually someone will respond and we can push together. I know that this is how the world is changed, by people who hate to lose and don't believe it is possible to lose with dignity.

I'm sorry if you are offended by this idea, but losing shouldn't have dignity. It should make you ill so you do better the next time. When you accept the idea of loss you will no longer care. Look around you. Tell me that we, as Americans, haven't lowered the bar because we generally believe that losing is dignified. Now read your Bible and tell me that God has ever considered for one moment that a loss is acceptable.

Sin is a loss and He doesn't accept it. He expect us to achieve perfection. That is the standard. Sure we will fail but perfection is so important to Him that He gave His only son, the one who did live a perfect life, so that we could have the opportunity to win. Are we going to toss that sacrifice aside and wonder aimlessly into hell with all our friends, or are we going to fight with our very last breath to win and bring as many with us as we can?

Personally, I hate losing so I plan on winning.


Steph at The Red Clay Diaries said...

Oddly, sometimes the most competitive people are the most likely to cop out and give up. (Think of the kid in the spelling bee who spells the first word wrong on purpose to get out early.)

I think some of us get "casual" about losing because we give up on ever winning. It can happen if you're a non-athlete and decide that no matter how hard you try, you'll never win anyway, so why bother. That's my tendency with sports and with board games.

I'm a perfectionist too, so my definition of winning used to equal perfect. Of course with that standard, you never CAN succeed. So it's logical to give up. (Sick, I know. I'm trying to change that.)

I know in my case, copping out also comes from lack of self-discipline and the willingness to keep fighting. In our culture, I think we've let that muscle atrophy a lot.

I love your application to faith here. I think we cop out on the spiritual journey when we lose hope, maybe because our expectations of perfection aren't realistic. Or we get overwhelmed by the task. Or we decide that it's just not that important to keep trying.

Since of course this game holds the utmost importance, I like being reminded that just letting myself lose is not an option.

And God doesn't demand perfection. But he DOES expect me to discipline myself and stay in the game.

Good post. :)

Matt @ The Church of No People said...

Oh man, losing is the worst! I'm not sure I effectively taught 'good losing' when playing capture the flag with my youth group. I was kind of a showboater. But I think they understood.

Personally, I get embarassed for people. Not necessarily 'losers,' but people in compromising situations. I can't stand it.

heartafire said...

This sounds like something from a Joel Osteen book. Sorry, but I have found in my life as a Christian NOT that I keep getting better and better as I press on toward the goal, but that my awareness of my own fallen nature and my sin actually GROWS as I learn more about Jesus and His character.

I don't "cop out" on the spiritual journey by any means, but I think Jesus really meant it, when He said on the cross, "It is finished."

There is nothing I can do to be any more saved, or loved by Jesus, and fortunately, there's also nothing I can do that will cause Him to "unsave" me, or love me any less.

My offerings are filthy rags. This life is not a game or a sport, or anything in which I need concern myself with "the competitve edge."

Nick the Geek said...


I think God does demand perfection, we must be Holy just as God is holy and be perfect as Christ is perfect (but according to Jesus check the sermon on the mount in Matthew). On the other hand we must rely on Christ to achieve because we are essentially separate from God (opposite of Holy) and incomplete (opposite of perfect as it is used here) on our own.

I will say that I fully support the idea of being a good winner. I'm not saying that I am the best at being a good winner but it it nice in theory.


I guess you should avoid reading Paul if you wish to keep the notion that this life is not a race, a fight, a battle, or otehr kinds of competition which we must endure to the end if we wish to be saved. Paul says this often in almost every letter he wrote.

heartafire said...

There is nothing in the Bible about "winning," in the sense of "besting an opponent." There is nothing the gospels teach us that has anything to do with competition. That's all I was saying. Bad metaphor.

Nick the Geek said...


I see where you are coming from. For me I often view winning as less to do with besting an opponent an more with the sense of accomplishment. I would consider completing a marathon as winning because it is accomplishing the goal. I should have explained that better because i also understand the other side of it because I will push myself harder when I have an opponent. Still, we do wrestle just not against flesh and blood but against rulers and principalities of darkness. One of my favorite passages. Specifically just after that where Paul advises us that "after doing all that [we] can just to stand, then stand firm putting on the full armor of God." It is nice to know that if we persevere we are allowed to stand firm and still be in God's protection even if we aren't gaining ground so to speak.

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