On a point of personal explanation: I am writing this before England takes on Croatia in the World Cup semi-final tonight. This is for two reasons. Firstly I rather want to watch the match, especially as I have missed
the last two England games. Secondly, I thought I would write about Winning and Losing - and the result of the match would skew my reasoning. One way or the other.
B is conflicted as to whether it’s a good idea for me to watch the Big Match, on the basis that England have now won twice without my encouraging presence. Could it be that my very presence might be a Bad Omen? On the other hand, I suspect Mr B would
prefer me to be watching with him, rather than (as he might put it) wittering around doing something else completely.
That’s as may be, but this Blog
is all about Winning and Losing and how we treat those two imposters just the same (as a far, far better poet than I once put it in his famous poem “If”.) I still remember the race at my Junior School when, for the first and only time, I beat one
Rita Hayworth (no, not that Rita Hayworth, I don’t think she ever attended Rush Green Junior School) to the tape. Unfortunately it was such a close run race that our teachers, accustomed to Rita’s winning ways (and not having the benefit of VAR
in those days) awarded the race to her, rather than to me. It is noteworthy, don’t you agree, that I still smart from the injustice of it all, so many years on?
A few years later, at Grammar School, I was beaten into second place in an essay competition, one I had rather fancied I might win. Thinking of Kipling and his views on being both a good winner and a good loser, I made a point of congratulating the
winner. “You don’t really mean that!” she responded, stoutly (and, I suppose, truthfully.) Obviously she hadn’t read Kipling.
of the Darling Daughters once played in the final of a table tennis competition at a holiday camp. Her opponent, it has to be said, was a rather better player and took the first set easily. Then Mr B, the Ace Sporting Strategist, took his daughter in hand
- just concentrate on getting the ball back, he advised her, and let your opponent make the mistakes. Our Foursome didn’t always do as their parents advised them - but they always listened to their father on All Matters Sporting. Over the course of the
next two sets, our daughter’s opponent grew so frustrated with the way the ball kept coming back at her that, yes, she made mistakes and surrendered the game. We felt a little ashamed when we realised that she would miss out on attending a Grand Table
Tennis Tournament, which she might have had a chance of winning, and which our daughter would not be able to enter.
Our Nomination Whist Group Met this afternoon
and that was, as always, all about winners and losers. In between winning and losing we did manage to discuss Wimbledon, particularly the fact that Rafa Nadal’s shorts always seem to be too small for him, while Serena Williams’s shorts appear a
size too large for her. One of our number suggested that maybe they should swap shorts though, to be honest, I couldn’t see this would make too much difference to their Winning Ways.
Back in 1990, poor Gareth Southgate missed a penalty which put England out of the World Cup. The German captain, Mattheus, put a consoling arm around the desolate fella and so earned himself a place on my 1990’s Heroes Board.
Mr B was apoplectic with rage that I awarded Hero Status to somebody whose team had relegated our lads to the ranks of the Losers. Incidentally, both the winning and the losing side, as I recall, wore very short shorts, compared to the ones of today’s
It would be justice, would it not, if Gareth won the day in 2018?
As Kipling might say: If (only...)