…or is “winning is not the most important thing, it is the only thing”  still a sporting maxim?

We wedged in to the TAB at Docklands on Saturday to join the throng cheering home Black Caviar. “What about Haylist’s run”, most concurred, as they had with Crystal Lily’s gallantry behind the mighty mare in recent runs.

This morning both Jason Day and Broomstick Scott were lauded for outstanding final rounds at Augusta, beaten fair and square by a brilliant Charl Schwarzel.

Can losing be “good enough”?  Are there heroic losers – first runners-up in Americanism – or is it a case of the winners can laugh and the losers can please themselves?


  1. Mick Jeffrey says

    So much attention was given to Mark Webber’s debut. The most talked about 5th placing in Formula 1 history at home in the unfancied Minardi. Michael Schumacher won for the record, but no-one remembers that.

    Same on Friday Night as well. ABC Radio in Queensland during their wrap of the sport after the Cowboys-Titans NRL game gave more props to Blacks A Fake finishing 3rd in the Inter Dominion Final, yet gave little attention to Smokin Up who won.

  2. Nick Riewoldt’s opinion may be useful in this exercise.

  3. The aim of anyone when competing in sport should be to win, otherwise its not sport, its a game. However without the other competitors (ie losers) there is no competition and no winner and so they should always be acknowledged. Therefore, by extension, there can be great, brave, heroic losses.

    See for example the woman (can’t remember her name) who ran second to Kerryn McCann in the Melbourne Commonwealth Games marathon in 2006, see the Joe Frazier/Mohammad Ali world title fights, see some of Rob De Castella’s enormous marathon efforts where he ran 5th or 6th, see Phil Anderson’s incredible effort to come 4th in the Tour De France in the 1980s, – the list goes on.

  4. Dips #3,

    Phantom in inter-school swimming races in the 1960’s / 70’s.

    The blokes that beat me would get out of the pool shake themselves off, flex their pecs and smile at the girls. Skinny little me would generally have to get out of sight quickly and ‘park a tiger’ as standard preparation for the next race.

  5. Phantom – year seven 50m backstroke. Half way down I’m in front and on target to break the world record. Finished last (just made it actually) and when I got out of the pool my legs gave way. Fell to the pool deck like a bowl of jelly. They can’t say I didn’t try.

  6. Andrew Fithall says

    Love the expression “park a tiger” Phantom. Good to see it in common use. You and Billy Picken share this sporting propensity.

  7. Andrew,

    one of my mates used to call me the ‘Zoo Keeper’ because I had parked so many tigers.

  8. Richmond this Friday. If they get within 5 goals, their performance will be reported as “gallant”. If they get within 3, it will be “heroic”.

  9. And if they get within 1 there’ll be people searching for a link between Collingwood and the Pakistan cricket team.

  10. Extremely unfair accusation Gigs.
    Pakistan only ever play away from Home.

    Can we get on topic?

  11. Dave Nadel says

    Tried to send this message from Monash this morning but the computer said “no.”

    The important thing is to know when losing really is losing. When Collingwood lost to Brisbane by nine points in the 2002 Grand final I wasn’t totally devastated because I thought we had played well and we had a young team that could only improve whereas Brisbane were playing at the peak and couldn’t get any better so we should beat them in the 2003 rematch.

    You would think that at 55, having seen Collingwood lose all those Grand Finals between 1958 and 1990, I would have known better. As you are all aware, Brisbane did improve and because of injuries, suspensions and form losses the 2003 Magpie team included a different set of youngsters including three players who should never have been in any Finals side (Tex Walker, Ben Kinnear and Richard Cole)and in fact Collingwood received the shellacking that I was so pleased they had avoided in 2002.

    If only I had remembered my Bob Dylan

    “There’s no success like failure
    And failure is no success at all”
    (Love Minus Zero/No Limit)

  12. Alovesupreme says

    I reckon your 2003 GF experience was made much worse by the earlier final when your Woods had impressively done over Brisbane – coming from behind either at half-time or late in the second quarter, if my recollection is correct.
    I’d certainly endorse your evaluation of the 2002 match, Collingwood were terrific, and the logic of your raised expectations about the following year. Enduring the unravelling of misplaced optimism is always much worse.

  13. Collingwood’s 2005 season illustrates the losing is winning principle.

    Many losses late in the season and some very special draft picks for coming second last.

    If it looks like a duck, waddles like a duck and quacks like it is heading of to the tank for a swim.

  14. Gigs #8 & Crio #9,

    Pakistan and Collingwood both had their last major success on the MCG.

    Both had laid down to advantage to enhance their chances some time prior to the success.

    Pakistan for odds, Collingwood for the odd player or two.

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