“It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game,” according to the losers and their parents.
While I think this quote is amusing, it does have a grain of truth!
I have three older siblings and growing up there was no way I could ever win any game we kids played.
Playing chess or any card game with my Dad or older brother was always an exercise in patience for me. They took so long to move a chess piece that I’d play kamikaze chess just to finish the game! (ie deliberately kill myself as quickly as possible just to end this!)
So, yes, I had to learn to enjoy playing the game, because I was never ever going to win.
I never won physical things at school either, because I was young in the year and on the small side.
That is why I clearly remember my school sports day when I was eight years old.
The girls in our year ran what they quaintly called “The 80 Yard Dash”. We all lined up at the start and off we went.
I remember my little feet pounding down the grass lane while my glasses bounced up and down on my nose, making the field in front of me dance around too.
My friend W was to the left of me. Tall and swift she soon outstripped me and was in the lead, but I kept on running for all I was worth.
I saw W reach the white tape at the end of the race. Then she simply stopped! All the parents at the side of the track were shouting at W to cross the tape!
My little feet still pounding away, I caught up. I had no such hesitation at the tape and ran straight through it. I was first!
W suddenly realised what all the parents were shouting at her, did a quick skip, and crossed the line second.
I went up to W after the race and said that it wasn’t fair. Obviously she had won the race; she was at the finish line way before me. W was a lovely girl and just said that yes it was fair, as she should have had the sense to cross the line. I did, so I won.
At the end of sports day they handed out the prizes. I won a plastic gondola with tiny gondolier. (Since I don’t have the gondola handy, I stuck my little gondolier onto this dish with some prestik.)
I cherished this prize for years. The gondolier’s lost his pole and the gondola, I think, is in the top of my wardrobe; but when I came across the little man the other day, he still brought back all those memories.
I am sure W went on to win many other races. (I don’t know because we moved and I never saw her again.)
As for me; that was the only race I ever won my entire life. Even though I felt I won by default, it still meant a lot to me: enough to keep the tiny gondolier all these years!