How to Lose Like a Champion

by Devanshu Mehta

In professional sport, there is only one measure of “better”– it’s not who got more points, or got more yards, or carried themselves with more dignity, or who was “winning” for the majority of the game. Ironically, being “a good sport” usually means you’re losing.

The only measure of “better” is who won. The best teams in history are known for the number in the Wins column. Cricket– and especially Test cricket– expends significant effort to obscure this fact.

So you lost. Too bad. Makes that #1 tag feel a little heavier to carry around. This is your gift. This is your curse.

Admit it, you got outplayed. However, in the grand scheme of things, it’s better to lose by being outplayed than to lose by acts of god [1]. Of course, in the grand scheme of things, it’s better to win.

But you lost.

Of course, if you’re smart and you’re good, all of this talk about winning is to your advantage. Because nobody remembers the margin of victory, as long as you win more than you lose and you win when it matters.

England were better on the day. And this is okay, as long as it’s usually qualified with “on the day”. And it will always be qualified, as long as you win more than you lose and you win when it matters.

This is how you build a dynasty.

You know this. You’re playing the long game, nine-dimensional chess. You lose when you can afford to lose, but you win when you must. You know this because this is how you got here. This is how you won the World Cup.

[1] It is also better to win by outplaying your opponent than by acts of god. Unless the gods are members of your playing eleven.

Advertisements