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Win humbly — lose graciously

This will come as no surprise to you — sports have a dominant influence in our society.

For many of us, sports enter our lives during our early growing years and stay with us until those growing years end. But … yes … there’s a “but.”

I understand the nature of today’s sport’s operations and enjoy watching a game of baseball — especially if my Minnesota Twins are playing. But — here’s that “but” — what bothers me most about today’s sports programs are the on court/field childish shenanigans.

We all know the passion that is involved in playing sports We all know how important it is for some coaches/players/owners to win. But sometimes the dancing/prancing and posturing just goes too far and becomes just plain silly.

Playing sports — at all levels — is like a two edged sword. All of us know the many positives that come with participating in sports. Players and, hopefully parents and other adults, learn teamwork, a sense of belonging, loyalty, sportsmanship, physical skills building and, in many cases, life long friendships are formed.

However, without proper coaching and parental guidance, a young player may foster a “win at all costs” attitude, and in doing so, becomes hardened to the growth opportunities of sports. I really liked what was said during a recent gathering of community people.

I had invited a woman from another town to wear her children’s high school sports apparel. I wore the sport T-shirt of my local town’s school and we attempted to show how two people from differing towns could work together for a common goal.

During our little skit, my partner made a statement about what she taught her children when playing sports. She said: “I teach my kids to win humbly and lose graciously.”

Wow! So much meaning in just four words! It got me to thinking how those words of wisdom could be used in many of our daily situations like politics, or a job promotion or in a relationship with a friend or a family member. Perhaps, even when you’re having that tense conversation with an acquaintance and you can feel things going sour.

Let’s say you and a friend are relaxing over a glass of Bogle Vineyards Chardonnay. Both of you certainly enjoy the wine’s great flavor of creamy soft citrus and its crisp finish, and, as you clink glasses, the topic of conversation turns to politics.

You can feel your heartbeat pounding faster because you know there are differences in your thoughts about politics. Both of you know the discussion is heading downward and both of you know this could be a moment to talk gently, find a compromise position and…win humbly, lose graciously.

Another example — after a long and busy day, you and your spouse finally have a moment alone. The kids are in bed and a bottle of Mark West Pinot Noir is calling to both of you. As the wine is poured, both of you remark about its fine soft cherry flavor that sits comfortably with the wine’s bit of spice and hints of barrel aged oak.

Your discussion centers on whether or not to continue the family tradition of a holiday dinner with all the relatives — which can be a bit tense — or to begin your own family’s tradition of a holiday dinner before the kids leave the nest.

Ah, the tension mounts as you try to decide between an old tradition or a new tradition. Both of you quickly realize that one of you must give and one of you must get — win humbly, lose graciously.

Returning to the subject of sports, let’s say you’re at your child’s sporting event and a couple from the rival town sits down beside you. The cheering goes back and forth with a lot of friendly chatter but you have a deep inner wish for your child’s team to win.

Later that night and over a glass Gnarly Head Old Vine Zin, you mull about the game and the wine’s spiciness paired with its vanilla and black cherry taste. You enjoy the wine and hope that you did the right thing today at the game and that’s — to win humbly, lose graciously.

During this month’s monumental hustle and bustle, I urge all of us to remember to win humbly and lose graciously.

It’s called being kind.

As always, eat and drink in moderation but laugh with reckless abandon!

Cheers!

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