There’s a lot of counting going on this week. We have been told to keep counting and stop counting, sometimes in capital letters. Numbers are being scrutinised in painstaking detail, with hundreds of hours of airtime being devoted to counting, recounting, and then counting some more. My very average mathematical brain has struggled to keep pace with all the number crunching. I’m much more comfortable juggling words as opposed to digits.
What counts though? If we’re ahead at the end of the race, no matter what? Is it winner takes all and if that involves a bit of skullduggery along the way then so be it. We live in a world where many adopt a ‘win at all costs’ mentality. And yes, there is much to be said for going out onto the field of play believing in yourself and your abilities. It’s okay to possess self-belief and a strong desire to win. All of our great champions do.
But where do we draw the line? When does having a healthy, competitive streak spill over into arrogance, narcissism and downright nastiness? Nobody likes a bad loser but a bad winner is even worse. A true sportsperson accepts both victory and defeat with good grace and a respect for their fellow competitor. May the best person win and no hard feelings at the end. Isn’t that the very essence of sportsmanship?
Winning matters. Yes, it’s good to win. When I watch my kids play matches, sit exams, go on stage I want them to do well, to be the very best they can, to win. But I cannot allow that to be at all costs. It’s not about climbing the mountain, it’s about the manner in which you climb the mountain. The counting will continue. The best man will win. Dignity, honour, justice and humility will prevail. That’s what counts, right?