STOP WINNING. It might make other people feel bad if you win too much.
That’s the lesson today, kids, and it comes to you out of Inglewood, CA.
Inglewood High School beat Morningside High School in a game last Friday night. The Inglewood football team didn’t just beat Morningside, they trounced them.
The score was 106-0.
Their quarterback is destined for UCLA. The team scored 56 points in the first quarter alone and by halftime, they were up 83-0.
At this point, I’m pretty sure the coach is looking at this game as practice, so, as the game drew to a close, the coach went for a two point conversion, taking it from 104 to 106 points.
It was a proverbial bloodbath on the field: the Inglewood team played a team far less skilled, a team who, according to one of their players, went into the game knowing it was probably going to be a wipe-out, but gave it their all anyway.
It’s called competition: both teams met on the field, each played their best until the end of the game.
But now, the principle of Inglewood High School has issued…wait for it…an APOLOGY for the outcome of the game.
Inglewood High School principal Debbie Tate issued an apology after facing social media criticism that their team KEPT SCORING. In her letter, she says the school’s team did not conduct themselves “with sportsmanship or integrity and the final score was unacceptable.”
And she’s not alone in her condemnation of her team for continuing to score against a less skilled opponent. Both schools are in the Inglewood Unified School district and school officials say they are…wait for it again…”saddened beyond words” about the final score and will conduct an investigation.
“We will conduct a full investigation and take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that a similar outcome never happens again under an IUSD athletic program," county administrator, Erika Torres, said in a statement.
The first time head coach of Morningside, Brian Collins, told the Los Angeles times that it was a “classless move,” and sports announcer Dick Vitale agreed with him.
Dear baby Jesus, how do we unpack all the mind-blowing warped perspective of this situation? It’s so overwhelming, I almost didn’t write about it…ALMOST.
Let’s start with someone I have never met, but based on her Tweet, I’m sure we’d be friends:
Shaneice76971248, I want to buy you a drink. Or two. Or five. Because, you, friend I’ve never met, said it perfectly.
Dull your shine so someone else doesn’t feel bad.
Don’t do your best, ‘cause your best might hurt someone else’s feelings.
If you find yourself excelling, stop and apologize publicly for your lack of consideration.
Lower the bar.
Stop pushing to win.
This mentality isn’t new, but like all bad ideas left unchecked, it has run amok. It extends far beyond a football field, past athletics, past academics and has leeched into every aspect of life where competition exists.
No more “thrill of victory and agony of defeat.” We have to do away with defeat. And agony. If a thing exists that makes you feel bad about yourself, that thing must be done away with posthaste. (I used “posthaste” just to class up this article.)
You must apologize for being good at what you do, because others aren’t as good at it and your excellence will hurt their feelings. It’s this entire “Community OVER Competition” nonsense. Yes, I said nonsense, because “community over competition” often becomes the crutch used to justify why you don't win. Don’t get me wrong-a sense of community is a wonderful thing: community based groups, both professional and amateur, are places to discuss and learn and watch. It’s nice to know that you are not alone with a particular problem or situation; that others face them, too.
But they don’t take the place of healthy competition. You can love those within your chosen community and want the best for them and STILL want to win.
This is not a bad thing.
“Hey, I’ve won enough Super Bowl rings. Let’s let someone else have a turn.”
”My sales are high enough; I don’t need to try anymore.”
”I feel bad that my business is doing better than other businesses, so I’m going to stop working hard to allow others to catch up.”
”I feel bad that I’m naturally gifted at <fill in the blank>”
”I’m sorry I’m more dedicated than you. I’ll lower my expectations since yours aren’t as high.”
No. Nobody says that. And if they do, they need to have a Come to Jesus moment.
We are better precisely because we don’t quit.
We are better because we don’t feel guilty for success.
We are better because we never stop striving for excellence.
We are better because of the lessons learned by failure.
Everyone loses when we lower the bar. You think Indiana Jones would still be a bad ass archeologist dude who fights Nazis if hadn’t wanted to win?
The message permeating society has become “ STOP TRYING TO WIN” and that, my friends, is a dangerous message.
From Washington DC to a football field in California, the message of “apologizing for success” is being pushed…
but, it doesn’t mean you have to like it.