Friday, June 03, 2005

Winning is the only thing

Todd Zywicki has performed a valuable service today.

Yesterday I posted on a quotation I think now that I did not understand fully. Todd is posting on one I have always understood.

And the use of Vince Lombardi's "Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing" more or less to mean its opposite has annoyed me for years. This twisting grew out of the '60s clash of cultures, as Lombardi did not quite seem a believer in flower power or an adherent of The New Left. I have never understood this twisting. Though my own reading is slightly different from Todd's, if in the same spirit.

Vince Lombardi was talking about competitive sports. A competitive sport does not work if the competitors are not competing. During the competition, winning must be the only thing for each competitor, besides the rules that govern the competition. But winning is not everything - in the end it does not actually matter who wins at some fundamental level. It is having competed fully that is key.

Even to me, slightly seduced at the time by the siren call of counterculture, this seemed clearly to be what he meant. And it was brilliantly concise.

I guess too concise.

Now someone should produce a pithy saying to explain the core of those sports (which I cannot motivate myself to play) where cooperation is the key; for example, trying to have a tennis rally that lasts an incredibly long time.


Post a Comment

<< Home