"I hate losing more than I love winning."
saw Moneyball again the other night. didn't really think much of it would permeate my mind any more than it had been permeated the first time i watched it. i was wrong. somewhere around monday i awoke with these exact words repeating in my mind. wondering where this concept entered, i went on the balcony with my coffee and recalled the scene from the movie and felt content to have an origin.
minutes later, i found my thoughts returning to these words. and then i realized where my mind was taking me. that damned game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals. that final loss by my new found favorite hockey team: the New Jersey Devils.
i mean, the first loss in overtime was like a MAFIA HIT. took me completely off guard and made both my jaw and my heart drop.
the second loss. ah hell. it was deja vu all over again. in OVERTIME, YOU FOOLS?? but yes. another loss in overtime. i literally got chills the moment Los Angeles sunk that puck.
hope diminished rapidly that night. and the dark cloud was still lingering some time sunday night, before i awoke with these words filling my mind.
and i wondered. defeat. loss. wasn't i from the mold that screamed from the rooftops that defeat is never a possibility until it becomes a reality? why should i let stats and probability enter my thoughts? after all, what about the Bill Buckner, Bucky Dent, Aaron Boone, Colorado Rockies factor?
and then it hit me. the Rockies woke up and realized they were in the world series one day. they realized they were in Fenway. they realized they were on the top rung of the ladder and to fall was going to hurt...
"We lost because we told ourselves we lost." ~Tolstoy
i spent a good portion of the day comparing the two. the emotional impact...the dynamics that precipitate each...every possible way of Rubic's Cubing the matter of winning and losing was engaged in my mind...forward, backward, sideways, intellectual, emotional, spiritual...
and i thought about Bruce Lee's quotes, i thought about Sun Tzu's strategic, yet common sense approach...i thought of examples and memories and i grew exhausted.
finally, by monday evening, when the New Jersey Devils went out on the ice to get the snot beat out of them, i had already come to a place where i could accept watching this team who i have enjoyed watching a full two months now, fall to the only other team i had enjoyed watching a full two months. i could smile and be happy for their achievements and get back to baseball.
i was wrong. the concept of winning and losing has become a continual muse of successive thoughts as those damned Devils opted to return in game 4 and win the bastard.
do i hate losing more than i love to win? i mean, what kind of a person would that make me? ungrateful? entitled? everyone loses, it's part of the game, right? and if you can't take your lumps and stand tall, then don't godamned play, right? who the hell would HATE losing MORE than they love to WIN? isn't WINNING all that matters?
and what i realized was...oddly...this quote...it was uttered by Jimmy Conners, originally; not Billy Beane.
and, having discovered that from Googling it, i discovered another quote; from Billie Jean King, of all people. she said, "Victory is fleeting, losing is forever."
and that's when i discovered the truth. yes, winning feels great. but it's always temporary. the moment you win the game, it's over. and yes, you may be the winner today, but tomorrow always comes. and there will always be another tomorrow after that and someone other than you will have the opportunity to take your place and make their mark.
but still. maybe somewhere there might be a plaque or a statue of what you've done that will stand through time, right?
sure. but let's look at the opposite. games 4, 5, 6, 7 of the 2004 ALCS, for instance. the year the Red Sox marched right in to Yankee stadium, having been 0-3, they had to return for 4 nights in a DO OR DIE scenario. when i think about the guts it takes to show up, knowing one inning, one play, one wrong pitch could be your instant end...and to do this FOUR TIMES...knowing any moment, the very reasons you TRY could amount to nothing but loss...
i dunno. what does it take to reach deep inside the human will and force the matter? to toe up to the line and refuse to go quietly? is it something in a person or does it have to be in the whole team? do you have to have more than a "nothing left to lose," mentality when the pendulum swing in the direction of fate opening a door to you possibly WINNING, after all??
i think of David Freese in the 2011 world series, game 6. 1 strike away from watching the very team he was opposing slap each other in exhilaration and jubilance, seizing their trophy in YOUR STADIUM...knowing the whole time you were the final out...
what does it take to step into that batters box and not only try...but believe by trying you might actually WIN?
and what i realize is...i DO love winning, but LOSING is something that brings with it a plethora of emotion that seems to remain for a VERY LONG TIME. forever, really.
and what i realize is...losing will happen to half the guys on any given day in any given sport during any given game.
and what i realize is...life is a series of wins and losses. it's not so much about fearing failure as much as it is accepting defeat, but using that wisdom gained from defeat to stand firm when faced with it...and to try.
go out in a blaze of glory, whoever you are. you have nothing to lose but the conviction that, by trying, you might win...