When you play a game or a sport the person with the higher score at the end of it all is the winner. Or at least most of the time, as I guess the goal in golf is to achieve the lowest score. A game, at its core, is about winning and losing. It’s about the competition and one person or team beating the other. But I think that’s too simplistic as I believe with sports, in particular, it’s not just about the score.
For the purpose of this blog post, I am going to focus on sports. I am a big fan of many kinds of sports, both the individual and team versions. I have participated in countless games over my 40 plus years, and anyone that knows me well knows that I am not the competitive type. From baseball and hockey to skating and skiing, they are all a big part of my life.
When it comes to team sports, I will admit I usually participate from the comfort of my couch, as I watch on TV. Whether it be Major League Baseball or the National Basketball Association, as I watch the most elite athletes participate in the sport they love, I have to hope that they do this for more than just winning.
I don’t minimize the adrenaline rush that an athlete must feel when he raises the Stanley Cup above his head. His team scored more goals than the opponents did, and his team won. But getting to the championship game brings together so many factors.
Something I love about sports is the drive and determination needed to succeed. Whether the athlete is a 6-year-old child, a teenager, young adult or senior citizen, sports are about physical and mental strength and tremendous resolve. And I must note that success is not necessarily measured by coming out the winner, with the higher score.
Success can be about a team coming together and bonding as a group, maybe making new friends. Or it can be about learning a new skill or a start on the path to living a healthier life. Or even if at the end of the day your team had the lower score, maybe you as an individual, finished the day with a personal best.
Then there’s individual sports, in which I participate in more actively. Many individual sports, like skiing, swimming, skating or gymnastics, can be competitive if you follow that track, or it can also have no elements of judging and a score.
For example, my son, Matthew, loves to snowboard. He is a natural athlete and is seemingly comfortable with every sport he plays. Matthew picked up snowboarding a few years ago, and within a few weeks was flying down the hill. He went from beginner to advanced in a matter of just a couple of years. He joined the Development Team at our ski club this year. And he made this choice not because he hopes to be an Olympic athlete but because he wants to gain skills and spend time with friends.
Matthew is participating in a few snowboard competitions this winter, and I know that for him his score doesn’t matter. He wants to learn to ride faster, do a few tricks in the terrain park and enjoy the camaraderie of being part of a team.
Of course, sometimes it is just about the score. I want my Blue Jays to win a World Series again sometime, and I don’t doubt that the thousands of fans in Toronto who are part of “Leafs Nation” have had enough of the 50-year draught without a Stanley Cup. You need to win more games than your competition to raise the Cup above your head. The quickest way to do that – score more goals, give up fewer goals and win as many games as you can.