I always tell my elder boy how important it is to lose with dignity in any sport, how humility is a really appealing quality to possess. When he was younger, it was a bit difficult for him to understand. I mean everyone feels bad when he/she loses, so what is the big deal in showing it? I explained to him that people who don’t let either success or failure go to their heads are the eventual winners. He has come a long way from the days when every trivial game was a matter of sore disappointment and life and death. These days I find him handling his losses quite decently.
And, yesterday he had the opportunity of witnessing exactly what I have been telling him. There was this older lady in a game of chess with another lady. As I was in the final which I later won, I went to watch this semi-final match right towards the end, and he came along always curious. He won the first prize in Chess in his age group. Now this older lady was in a messy situation and about to lose. She was doggedly fighting (nothing wrong with that) in a lost cause. She was turning the rules on its heads, making moves and changing them continuously and taking ages for each move. The other lady being very patient was bearing it silently. Finally, when this lady lost, she started arguing with the organizers that she wanted to play another game, that it was unfair, who had decided upon the format etc. As a parting shot, she even commented that she had won the first prize in another event. All this for a puny Competition that is more for fun than anything else.
My son was quite shocked with this behavior. He commented on her being a sore loser. I asked him if he learned anything from this episode, and he said he actually could see how undesirable and ugly this kind of behavior is. What was more surprising was the age of the person. He felt that older people are normally benign and balanced! Well, sometimes real incidents teach much more than morals.