I remember an interview from the winter Olympics about ten years ago that really stuck with me. After one of our downhill skiers came in fourth the interviewer asked him “how bad do you feel for about your disappointing finish”?
The Olympian looked at him as if he had two heads and replied, ‘I don’t feel bad at all. Heck I didn’t expect to have done this well and how can I feel bad knowing I’m the fourth best skier in the world”?
I loved his retort. Way too often in todays sporting arena we heap all kinds of praise on winners even if they win in poor fashion and look down upon the losers even if they gave it their all and did so in a stand-up fashion.
In my book, there is no shame in losing if gave it your all and did so in an honorable way.
As a long time and long suffering Met fan, sure I was disappointed that they came up short in the World series as I’m sure every player on the team was. But as I consider all they accomplished this season despite all of the injuries, the classy way they went about their business and how they refused to listen to the naysayers who said they’d never make it that far, I see no need in being ashamed of their loss. As a matter of fact they should feel extremely good about themselves.
Around the all-star break the team was struggling to stay even in the win/loss column as they were short handed due to injuries. They were also battling a Washington Nationals team that was supposed to win going away.
Despite the odds, they kept on battling until they got some talented reinforcements around the trade deadline and the return of some of their key players. In the end they managed to win their division going away, won a divisional series against a very talented and well paid Dodgers team then swept what most analysts and many other thought was a more talented Cubs team to make their way into the World Series.
So despite losing four out of five games, they were in almost every one until the last inning. Sometime, despite your best efforts and desire to succeed, you come up against a foe who simply plays better. The Royals simply played better and seemingly were destined to win this year.
Just like the Royals who came up short last year but won this year, the Mets have the kind of team (If they stay healthy) to make it back next year. if they don’t so be it but knowing the character of the team it won’t be without trying.
I’m sure that Daniel Murphy, Yoenis Cespedes, David Wright and Matt Harvey feel as bad as any of their teammates over their defeat but when I look at their accomplishments, struggles and contributions to the team I see no need for them to do so.
In Daniel’s case he almost single handedly carried the team through the divisional and league playoffs and it would have been unrealistic to expect him to stay that hot. Yoenis came to the Mets at the trade deadline and was a driving force lifting the team to the post season. I also believe if he hadn’t taken a foul off his knee with the bases loaded that took him out of the game, he would most likely have driven In some runs.
In David’s case, I was happy for him to have simply been able to participate in the fall classic. David, despite being a truly stand up guy, spent most of the season trying to come back from spinal stenosis which could easily have ended his career and most certainly limited his abilities in the playoffs and series. Yet despite that he competed well and never complained and competed with all that was in him.
As for Matt, I’m glad he wanted the ball in the ninth inning last night to try and finish what he started. Here was a guy coming off of Tommy John surgery who pitched way more innings that he was supposed to and who fought last night for his team like a man possessed.
I could go on and on about the players and the character of the team but by now I’m sure you get the picture.
Bottom line, when you play hard, play fair and try your best there is never any need to feel shame in losing.
The good news is there is always a next year, just ask the Royals.
Thanks for checking in again this week and I look forward to seeing you back here again next week.