Monday, July 09, 2007

Winning and Losing

Yesterday as I was watching the Formula 1 race, at the end of the race during the podium ceremony, the commentators were talking about winning and losing. A comment was made about what Mario Andretti, a legendary car racer said. Mario, by the way, is such a great driver that he has driven almost all types of competitive car racing from Formula1, NASCAR, Indycar, Touring Cars, ChampCars etc. and even the 24hr Lemans endurance race. And the greatness is that he has been world champion in all the above disciplines.

Now coming back to what he said, "Second place is nothing but first among losers". Though the commentators made this as a passing comment, to me it is a very profound statement. This just gives a completely different perspective of winning and losing. Many people would have different perspectives like "Winning is not important, how we play or participate is" and so on.. But, I am more inclined to what Mario said. I believe, it is just the attitude of the person when he approaches a problem, a situation or life in general. The "fire" of winning or excelling governs our execution to a large extent.

But then it is also a paradox. Can everybody be winners? No.. because for every winner there is a second place and a third place and so on. But I feel that one cannot be the winner or even come close to it without the constant urge to be one. It is the continuous motivation which is fanned by this urge helps one to be.

Yesterday's Wimbledon Final was another example. Roger Federer, the champion, had to dig deep to be able to defeat the ever improving and powerful Rafael Nadal. If he had not believed that he had it in him and he should be the number one, I don't think he could have withstood the onslaught of Nadal, who by himself is a great fighter.

This attitude is I guess very much what is called as "killer instinct" when it comes to sports and especially talked about with regards to the Indian team for the lack of it. In stark contrast, the Australian team, always fight to the last moment.

What say you?


Saumya said...

Being a sports person myself, I can relate very well to the phrase "second is first among losers" with respect to sports...

However, I have a different view point. If you really don't come second a few times around, you would not strive to improve yourself. I mean, you tend to take success for granted.. This is not just in sports, but in general life scenarios as well.. The more you fall, the more you learn to get up. :)

Vijay Ramaswami said...


hmm.. but again.. is it not that one who is at the top needs to put more effort to stay there ;-).