Ignorant of Theophilus?
“There’s more to sports than winning.” “It’s not about winning and losing.” “Winning isn’t the most important thing.”
Those types of platitudes surround sports today, especially youth sports. And I have to admit:
I don’t understand them.
If you’re playing a competitive sport, you’re playing to win. That is the only substantive good that runs through all competition: baseball, cross-country, checkers, bass fishing, NASCAR, beer pong, poker. Winning. That’s the point of competition.
Does that mean that competitive sports don’t have other benefits? Of course not. Some (track) get you into shape, others (chess) help your ability to concentrate, some (poker) make you money, some (beer pong) get you buzzed. Every form of competition (except maybe NASCAR) has an ancillary benefit, but it’s not a benefit that’s necessary to the pursuit of competition in general. Such benefits are what the Schoolmen might call “accidents” of competition.
Accidents aren’t substances. When it comes to competitive sports, winning is the form that makes competition what it is. It is the essence of competition. If you’re not playing to win, you’re denying the core nature of competition, and it’s no longer competition. If you don’t want to play to win, that’s fine. Take up knitting or walking a treadmill . . . but get off the daggone track.
Now, does all this mean that winning is the most important thing?
Maybe. It depends what you mean by “most important.”
On the plane of competition, yes, winning is the most important thing. Hands down. It’s illogical to claim otherwise, for the reasons set forth above.
But on the plane of existence in general? Is … Read the rest