By Robert Clements
Something that didn’t look too good after the Finals of the World Cup was the way our cricket team and also most of us as a nation behaved as losers. It was pathetic seeing the behaviour of some of the team members as they acted so churlish to the winners and even refused to speak on TV.
We need to train our nation to be good losers even as we aspire to become winners.
Personally, this is not something I find easy to write about, because there have been innumerable times in my own life when I’ve not accepted defeat well. It isn’t easy, especially when you have all your hopes bottled into the idea you are a winner, that you deserve to win, and life is unfair in making you lose.
I was just watching a video of one of the Oscars which took place a couple of years ago, and saw how the host announced the wrong winner of the Best Picture Award: Instead of announcing the prize for ‘Moonlight’ he announced, ‘La La Land’. Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway then presented the award to the producers of the wrong movie. They started delivering the acceptance speech, when the hosts ran up and announced to the startled audience that the wrong winner had been announced and the award should go to ‘Moonlight!’
But what was so beautiful was how the producers of La La Land, “gracefully” handed over their trophies to the winning team!
The word is ‘graceful’!
Can you imagine how they must have felt? One moment victory, the next moment, defeat! One moment absolute joy, the next deep disappointment!
But it’s during this moment of defeat the world looks to see how you take it: In fact more eyes are focused on you the loser, then you the winner, and when you are graceful in defeat, you are a winner in the eyes of the world.
Like I said at the beginning, this is not a subject I find easy to write on, because more often than not, I have lost badly and been pretty angry about my defeat. I remember many years ago, twenty- five years ago to be precise, I was standing for the post of area chairman of an international organization. There was a tie, and the outgoing chairman threw his casting vote in favour of the other candidate. I was furious, disappointed and bitter, and till date it is that behavior of mine that my friends remember.
The post was only for a year, but the memories of my angry reaction are remembered to this day.
That’s the time you are most vulnerable. That’s the time, you have been hit on the head and you want to hit back like a wounded animal, but when you don’t, when you get up from the depth of despair and shake hands with your opponent, that memory will remain in the minds of all forever.
As much as we train ourselves to be winners, train yourself diligently to accept defeat!
People may not remember who won the Oscar in 2017 ten or even five years from now, but they’ll always remember how a defeated producer gave up his trophy gracefully!
As we enter the month of Christmas and remember the Christ child, did we ever ponder and realise that His death at the age of thirty- three and our elections which have just got over have something in common? Was thinking of both these momentous events and realised there’s much similarity there.
Both events, be it the death of Christ or Voting Day, apart from electing, are about rejecting!
“We don’t like you! Goodbye!” say the voters.
The night before he was killed, Jesus was taken before Pilate the Governor of Judea, and Pilate turning to the people asked ‘What shall I do with this man?” Which is exactly what the voting booth asks you when you go into the secret chamber to cast your vote!
And the people cried out to Pilate, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”
Most of the people who shouted had seen Jesus doing miraculous things: They had witnessed him giving sight to blind men, making the lame walk again and even seen him raise a man from the grave, someone who had been given up as dead.
And yet they shouted, “Crucify him!”
Likewise, many candidates in last week’s hustings in the four states that went in for voting looked with disbelief at the final results, as they find they have been rejected outright despite projects they have completed, in spite of lifting their constituency out of poverty and even after having worked hard for their people.
They stare with disbelief as the results come in. They realize with horror, they have lost.
But……the similarity ends there, because Jesus was triumphant through his death.
As you read books of history or religious texts, you may ask what triumph is this we speak off? How can a holy man dragged down the streets of Jerusalem, flogged by Roman soldiers, spat at by the public, even as he carried a heavy wooden cross, be called triumphant and victorious?
How could a man whose hands and legs were pierced with nails onto the cross, be called a winner?
Therein lies the truth: That only through his death could he be the liberator of you and me. That because he died taking on himself the punishment for all my mischief, wrongdoing and sinning ways, today I have direct access to God. That this is the beginning of the story of Christmas.
He died to liberate me from the power of evil, and gave me instead, direct access to God’s power.
His death was a victory, unlike the elections where a loser bows out. In this case on a Good Friday over two thousand years ago, He was a Victorious loser!
Can we also become victorious losers? Because when we do, the victory we win as the world sees our graciousness will be remembered forever.
I shudder at how I reacted as a loser and I hope the Indian team shudders with me…!
The Author conducts an Online Writers and Speakers Course. For more details send a thumbs-up to him on WhatsApp 9892572883 Email: [email protected]