I’m writing this while I watch Team Canada try to claw their way back into contention in the Olympic semi final hockey game against…Germany.
If you’re not a hockey fan and don’t know why this would be a strange occurrence, let me give you some ideas of comparisons.
What if a small child fought Muhammad Ali? What if the New York Yankees played a seven game series against your 10 year old son’s team? What if Michael Jordan went 1 on 1 with LeBron James….in 1992, when LeBron was 8?
The idea is that they should not win, let alone compete, in this game.
But with 14:23 left in the third period, the Germans are winning by 2…
And I couldn’t be more excited.
A couple nights ago I watched Team USA, a team that I am to put mildly “not a fan of” defeat the Canadian Women for the gold for the first time since 1998.
One of the things that I truly loved about that game was the US goalie, 20 year old Maddie Rooney.
This Olympic rookie smiled after every save and gave her self a pass after every goal. She showed what sports are supposed to be; fun.
Sure, it’s competitive and it can be intense and in the end, you want to win.
But watching people who don’t often get to win, win, feels really good.
Do I want Germany to win this game?
But I don’t want them to lose.
Wanting Canada to win is not the same as wanting Germany to lose.
Ideally, Canada wins in a tight game, the Germans are proud of their performance and we get to play for another gold medal.
But we’ve lost sight of what athletics is and what it should be.
I’m not talking about not keeping score and everyone gets a trophy and there’s no such thing as an MVP.
What I’m talking about is a return to absolute competition. A return to winning is everything…except all the the other stuff.
You can lose…and be proud.
You can win…without making the other team feel terrible.
I miss playing sports at a high level. I loved it. I’m now getting to play hockey but certainly not on the level that I played football at in high school.
I hate losing. But i love playing.
Play. Love playing. You don’t have to be happy if you lose, but if you’re not happy if you’re winning, you’re doing something wrong.
PS Congratulations Germany.