02-23-12 11:43 AM - Post#121831 In response to Bear34
I agree that we play to win the game. But if that's the end all be all than everyone in sports will live in a perpetual disappointment that precludes us from appreciating and taking advantage of all the other benefits associated with athletics--the joy and life lessons that come with competition; the satisfaction of leaving it all out there, of pushing and learning your limits; the self-reflection that comes with each triumph and failure (and that leads us to a better understanding of ourselves and our strengths/weaknesses); the mentoring, encouragement, and brotherhood of coaches and teammates; and the lifelong friendships that are possible through toeing the line together.
To answer your question, why do we even play if winning isn't everything? I would say, we do play to win. But not for the win as an end in itself. Our 100% efforts to win together help us develop as human beings, bring out the best in us, and--so long as we value and acknowledge our teammates for their character (and not just for their talent or lack thereof a.k.a. how much or little they can help us win)--we forge a lifelong bond.
I played hoops and baseball through college, and I wanted to win as much as anyone and was always very disappointed after a loss. But with my athletic career behind me, I don't go online to the archives and look at how many W's vs. L's my teams earned. My teams were pretty good and we had some big wins, but we don't harp on that when we get together, and our win-loss record is not what shaped who we graduated to become. Unless you're a pro, the only thing you can really take with you are the experiences, lessons, and relationships--none of which come from a win, but from trying to win together.
It sounds like the end all be all of your hoop experience at Brown was W's. What would you have done if your teams weren't good? Would you have quit (b/c what’s the point if we don’t win)? Would you have started flinging blame around at your teammates and coaches? Would you not have had any fun? Would you not have benefited at all?
You were obviously born a good athlete... If you have kids, what if they don't take after you athletically--will it still be all about winning? Will you only let them play if they are good? If winning is the end all be all, you are setting the table for 1) inevitable disappointment and for 2) not realizing the most important benefits of sports--the real things that you can take away and actually apply to and benefit from for the rest of your life.
I really do believe that 100% emphasis on winning has damaging effects on amateur athletes and athletics through college. And I don't think it leads to sustained success.
If this post perpetuates additional negativity, I will pull the plug on myself b/c that is the opposite of what I'd set out to accomplish...