Invasion of the Sore Losers

The Charger Bulletin

Ladies and gentlemen, we have entered an era in which we can’t lose. I don’t mean “can’t lose” in the optimistic way. I mean that we have lost the ability to lose graciously.

I began noticing this development when my seven-year-old cousin cried when he lost a game of Scrabble against my grandmother (a Scrabble pro) and almost threw my Wii-mote across the room when he was last place in Mario Party.

At first, I thought maybe this has been caused by the relatively new practice of not keeping score during little league games or not defining winners and losers in gym class. Once I started paying more attention, I noticed a much bigger trend. Americans as a whole are a bunch of sore losers.
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Let’s start small; the Super Bowl. It’s still difficult for me to talk about it, but for the purpose of writing a substantial editorial, I feel like I must include it. The Patriots lost one game all season. Granted, the most important game was the one they lost. However, how many New Englanders still can’t talk about it because they are still so upset from that single loss? Everyone knows someone that is. Over one game.

A similar thing happened this summer when the Rays started taking the lead in the American League over the Boston Red Sox. I’ve never seen so many angry faces on my way to work. We answer these losses by blaming Manny, injuries, or umpires. Once upon a time, slumps were understood to be just that: slumps. While some turned into curses, people still understood that their team would win again someday. Now, it seems like we are too impatient to wait. We need to win now.

Now let’s move further into the loss spectrum; wars. Who won the Cold War? Who won the Vietnam War? Who’s winning the War against Terrorism? Truthfully, the answer to these questions isn’t a clear one. But let’s look at the basis of these wars: a fight against communism, another fight against communism, and a fight against terrorism. Communism and terrorism have always been around, are still around, and probably will always be around. On that rationalization alone, I’m willing to say that the U.S. didn’t win any of these wars. True, maybe we didn’t exactly lose them either. However, are we just too scared of admitting defeat? Do we still have troops in the Middle East because we don’t want to look like losers? I really am not into politics enough to debate this with anyone; I just see a connection between U.S. politics and our inability to lose.
Finally, we’ll look at the biggest opportunity to lose: the Olympics. It’s natural to pay more attention to wins than losses, so our explosive admiration of Michael Phelps was to be expected. However, we were so blinded by the gymnastic age scandal that we practically ignored the fact that Nastia Liukin won the gold in women’s gymnastics all-around competition. And while we basked in the glory of leading in total medals, we ignored the fact that China had almost doubled our gold medals.

On a much smaller level, the issue of losing hits close to home as UNH students wonder whether we lost any parking spots (I told myself I wouldn’t discuss parking issues for a while, but I feel like I’ve waited long enough).

Who knows where this inability to lose came from? The only thing that’s clear (at least to me) is that lately even “mature” adults have a hard time dealing with loss. It will be interesting to see how this tendency grows worse or better as time goes on and our “me” generation begins competing with each other for jobs and successful lives.