Tuesday, November 24, 2009

How Do You Take Losing?

John Marine | 11/24/2009 12:01:00 AM |
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(updated: 12/3/2009)

The losing I'm talking about is mostly in sports. How do you accept losses as a sports fan, or maybe even as an athlete? Losses can be demoralizing as it is. You know, everything in your power to try and win, and you fall flat. Or you have a chance to win or tie, but fail to do so. The inspiration for this blog entry came when I was watching Monday Night Football as the Houston Texans hosted their rival Tennessee Titans. I was a great deal angry when Kris Brown failed to cash in a long field goal that could tie the game. It happened two weeks ago at Indy when we had a chance to tie- WIDE LEFT. It happened earlier tonight when we had a chance to tie- WIDE LEFT. I am a Texans fan and love my favorite NFL team. But in trying to become an elite team or really go to the next level, I feel next level teams have to PLAY like next level teams.

--- How Most Fans Take Losses ---
It usually depends on the team and the athletes. What if Ohio State played in a BCS Bowl Game... only to lose by a few points or get blown out? With Ohio State's recent inability to win major bowl games recently, most fans would react differently depending on the loss and how a team lost. A close loss feels every bit as anger-building as losing by three touchdowns.

What I hate more is when teams just give up on their favorite teams. Take my Texans. They lose 24-7 in their 2009 season-opening match hosting the Jets, and most fans already gave up on the Texans like they were expecting a 16-0 season. And in typical ESPN, "always hate Houston" fashion, Matt Sanchez gets praised and looked on like my Texans are some FCS school going up against a BCS powerhouse.

--- How I Take Losses ---
When my Houston Rockets lost by 40 in the 2008-2009 playoffs at the Los Angeles Lakers, I already gave up on the Rockets as it is impossible to come back from 40 points with hardly any time left. When my Texans have lost on the leg of Kris Brown both at Indy two weeks ago and at home against the Titans, I felt that knocking in the field goal will at least give us hope of sending a game into Overtime (though we've NEVER won a game in Overtime). I'm always the hopeful type when my favorite team is involved. Unless a team has no chance of coming back, I just look to another TV program or do something else.

What about single-athlete sports? Take NASCAR's season finale at Homestead, where Jimmie Johnson (whom I love and respect) won his fourth-straight Cup championship. I talked on GTPlanet.net's forums that I call Mark Martin as NASCAR's tragic hero- so many years in NASCAR... never won Daytona 500 and never won the Cup championship. He still soldiers on and races with purpose even in defeat. I remember a year or two ago Texas, I was pulling for Danica Patrick to win as it was a three-way fight for the win. My heart rate doubles (and sometimes triples) when Danica leads or has a chance to win. She ended up finishing 3rd in that race, but in the eyes of most skeptics (by the way... this was before her first win in the IndyCar Series), it's still a loss on the record.

So I tend to take losses to my favorite teams and athletes in certain ways depending on the sport, the situation, and how a loss happens. I even sometimes can't get certain thoughts out of my mind of losses, mostly because of all the sports highlights showing defeat. How do you think I feel when I have to keep seeing highlights of North Carolina State beating the University of Houston in 1983 for the NCAA men's basketball national championship? I usually call ESPN/ABC as the "Always Hate Houston" network. Either that, or just the network where my favorite Houston teams fail constantly. Almost like we're jinxed when playing on ESPN/ABC in front of a major audience.

How do you take losses for your favorite teams and athletes? Are you upset that a team/athlete chokes an opportunity to extend a game or win a close game? Or do you feel terribly upset when a team trying to contend for postseason glory keeps hurting themselves when they could be in a much better position in the season? How do YOU take losses?

See my video here:

Link: "How Do You Take Losing?
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