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Jan
31

Does Only Winning Matter?

At my last toastmaster’s meeting I was the toastmaster of the day and I chose the meeting theme as “Sports”. As an introduction to the theme I chose 4 stories from the sports world that had inspired me – having read about some, watched them later and seen some live. As a child I was a terrible athlete but still grew to love sports. I love watching as many as I can and more than that I guess I love digging up the archives and reading inspiring tales from the sporting world – this activity is my biggest dose of anti-depressants.

I shared the stories behind Herb Brooks and his team of amateurs that won the Miracle on Ice, Goran’s love story with Wimbledon, Derek Redmond’s determination to finish the Olympics race and Nadia Comaneci’s perfect ten which was until then perceived as Impossible. Pivotal, poignant stories all – with one message that I have always believed  – The will matters, not the result. How you compete hails you as a sportsman, not the winning medals in your showcase.

At the end of each session we have a general evaluation – where the evaluator gives critical feedback on the whole meeting and all the role players; but this particular evaluator chose to rubbish the message by citing that winning is the only thing that matters and no one remembers a loser – that no one cares or bothers about what you bring to the match if you lose it. I was taken aback a bit by his statements since he had written to me ( I had sought a few thoughts with respect to the theme from each role players to introduce them) that the attitude of winning at all cost did not appeal to him. To me it seemed that he had just managed to contradict himself within few minutes.

I personally felt he gave the worst possible message to an audience at toastmasters who join it to hone their public speaking skills – where participation and overcoming fear of stage matters more than winning or losing the speech contest.

I hope this gentleman saw this Sunday’s epic Aus Open final. The next time we meet I want to ask him if he still believes that winning is all that matters and no one remembers the loser; because of all the articles I’ve read so far on the final (one of the finest here at GrantLand), folks have not stopped praising Nadal’s grit and fight and Nadal was Not The Winner.

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