Everyone Will Lose

By Samm Diep,
Losing sure can bring out the worst in people. I recently witnessed a local, experienced AAA player throw a complete tantrum after losing a match. He raised his voice and began puffing his chest like a big bully. He wasn’t going to back down until he got his way. Name calling and making a huge scene was not beneath him. It was a sad, sad sight; especially since I’d always admired this player’s ability and gotten along with him up until this point. I had instantly lost so much respect.

What causes losing to bring out such uncontrollable rage? We can attribute it to competitiveness, but that can not excuse our actions.

In our sport, there will always be a clear cut winner and loser. Though no one likes to lose, someone inevitably will. The question is: Do you want to be a Sore Loser or a Gracious Loser? Not sure what the difference is? Worried you may fall under the Sore Loser category? Well, here’s a little checklist to help you recognize the behavior.

The Sore Loser:

  • Doesn’t shake their opponent’s hand
  • Pouts / Makes others uncomfortable
  • Gets angry / Is rude
  • Raises their voice / Makes a scene
  • Makes excuses for their loss

The Gracious Loser:

  • Shakes their opponent’s hand
  • Respects & congratulates their opponent
  • Recognizes the defeat and spends their energy towards improvement
  • Accepts responsibility for their loss

Even the best will fail at some point. Even when you play your best, you may not necessarily win. It’s impossible to always win all the time. In nearly every competitive situation, someone will lose. That’s no phenomenon. It’s how you handle the loss that makes all the difference in the world.

Not only does being a sore loser leave a bad taste in the mouths’ of every poor soul that had to witness it, but when you’re a gracious loser, you’re focusing on the future and not on the past. You’re internalizing that there will be more tournaments to play and you’re choosing to focus on what you could do differently next time. The sore loser is unable to let go of their loss.

Perhaps the most unfortunate part of being a sore loser is that when you can’t get over the loss and you’re holding on to the past, you may miss out on other opportunities due to your sour attitude. Even though you didn’t win, no one will remember that three-rail kick-combo to win the first game or the four racks you strung together to make it hill-hill. They will only remember the tantrum you threw and all the whining you did afterwards. How do you want to be remembered? I choose to be a Gracious Loser.

Samm Diep
House Pro at Table Steaks East in Aurora, Colorado


All copyrights are owned by Samm Diep. No duplication is allowed without her permission.