“The pleasure of winning is less than the pain of defeat”

It was nice to see Dr. Charles Krauthammer’s Monday’s JULY 3RD’S COLUMN IN THE BANGOR DAILY NEWS on the back page of the first section on page A5 which supported my old coaching and playing career’s adage that the elation of winning is not as great as the pain of defeat regardless of the sport being played. But the more an athlete puts into the game physically and emotionally, the harder the feeling of agony is in defeat.

Here are some of Dr. Krauthhmmer’s excellent and very truthful quotes in the article.

1. “In sports, the pleasure of winning is less than the pain of losing. By any Benthamite pleasure/pain calculation, the sum is less than zero A net negative of suffering. Which makes you wonder why anybody plays at all.”

2. “But, as most who have engaged in competitive sports know, there’s nothing to match the amplitude of emotion, brought on by losing.”

3. “For every moment of triumph, there is an unequal and opposite feeling of despair.”

4. “Said Vince Lombardi, “”Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing””,. To which Dr. K said. “to which I add–conjecture–but losing is worse.”

This is especially true in any single elimination or one and done tournament play in any competition from athletics to politics (ask the democrats). There is only 1 winner and the rest end on a negative side.

As a coach, I always felt for my players, especially the seniors when we lost a game in the tournament as that meant our season was over and the seniors career’s were over and I knew how that feels as a player.

That is why when we had to have a hoop in a game being down 1 or 2 points in the tournament and we had the ball for the last shot, I always went with an underclassman for the shot, as if he missed the shot, he always had next year to fall back on, the senior didn’t.

Of playing, coaching or officiating basketball the most enjoyable of the three and the easiest thing to do was to officiate. Because when the game was over you didn’t have any feeling of winning or losing. You just looked forward to the next game because there was going to be one unless there were no more games on your officiating schedule.

Great article for players, coaches, fans, parents, etc.


Take the time to go on line to bangordailynews.com or pick up a Monday, July 3rd BDN paper, it’s worth your time.

As Dr. Krauthammer uses illustrations of winning and losing from youth leagues to the professionals.