Bob ponders thrill of victory, agony of defeat

Bob ponders thrill of victory, agony of defeat By Bob Karolevitz Phyllis and I just finished another Yahtzee game, and once again I lost.

As usual I was grumpy and mumbled dire threats against the dice which had caused my string of bad luck.

"Why can't you be a good loser?" my charitable wife asked.

And I replied: "Show me a good loser and I'll show you a loser!" � which is something I learned from Knute Rockne.

Somewhere along the line I developed a Vince Lombardi streak. "Winning isn't everything," he preached. "It's the only thing!" I guess that philosophy sort of rubbed off on me.

I've never believed in cheating or winning by devious means, of course, but I tend to pout when I lose. Maybe it's my war-time experience when I got caught up in Douglas MacArthur's tenet that "there is no substitute for victory."

"Yes, and you're a lousy winner, too," Phyllis adds. "You smirk instead of being gracious."

Well, I'm trying to overcome that obvious deficiency. I'm doing my best to live up to that old coach's saying: "It isn't whether you win or lose; it's how you play the game."

It's not easy, though.

Another problem I've got is that I'm always for the underdog. I guess that's why I often come out on the losing side so often, which also doesn't help my personality defect much. When I do pick a winner, I probably gloat.

Anyway, I'm now working on my new image. I'm learning to smile in defeat and being humble when I win. I've got to change my elephant-type memory, too. I have trouble forgetting the guy who beat me.

I'd never make it as a lawyer, for instance. I'd probably hold a grudge against another attorney who whipped me in the courtroom instead of meeting him � or her � in a bar afterwards for a friendly drink. Or maybe I've just been watching too much television and that isn't the way it is at all.

All my life I've hated what I call "fat man softball" when nobody cares whether you win or not. Now I've got to forget that. I'll play or compete just for the fun of it. Who cares what the score is?

The next time I enter and athletic pool, I'll pick the obvious favorites instead of choosing the teams I hope will win. By my old system, I've usually missed most of the victories, except for a rare upset or two.

Changing the spots on a leopard is mighty difficult, though. I've always been a guy obsessed with winning one for the Old Gipper. Now I'll just have to relax and enjoy the outcome of games, political confrontations and assorted other controversies in which I've tended to take sides. As a long-time Green Bay Packer fan, I've already taken my first lesson this year.

In a way, though, it's sort of a cop out. If you don't care about winning or losing, you become just an amorphous nothing. Consequently this has been a real dilemma for me. Should I alter my personality, or should I stick with my old-time competitive spirit?

I'm thinking about it, but in the meantime I say: "Get out the dice, Phyllis, and let's play another game of Yahtzee. This time I'll beat the socks off of you!"

© 2000 Robert F. Karolevitz

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