Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Guest Post: The Big Picture And "Perspective"

In a world filled with reactions to the Dallas-Washington Monday night game, we have one more, thanks to Dustin.  As regular readers recall, he collaborated with me on the Super Bowl Countdown from a couple years ago, which I consider to be one of Lattanzi Land's finest works, and would not have been able to do it without Dustin's great journalistic know-how and football genius.  Enjoy the piece!  -- J.L.

Life is filled with many twists and turns, peaks and valleys, and roller coasters.

Included in those twists (both good and bad) are sports. On Monday night, the Redskins lost a close game to their rival Dallas Cowboys in Arlington by a score of 18-16. The game played out to a familiar script for the Redskins with the offense bogging down in the red zone and the defense stopping Dallas until it mattered the most.

No, this is not a post of me analyzing the game, dissecting play-calling or pushing for John Beck to be the team’s starter next Sunday (although I do believe this should happen since Grossman still is the same old Rex Grossman).

This post contains some thoughts about reactions to the game. For the next few days, maybe weeks I will have interactions with Redskins fans, who will complain of ruined weeks; likewise with Cowboys fans, who are on the bandwagon in full force, and also fans of other teams, who know what is best to save the ol’ Deadskins.

Maybe I've matured over the years. Maybe marrying the love of my life shows me true value in this world. Or perhaps it’s a combination of maturity, professional success and personal happiness that brings me to the conclusion that I don’t give a damn what happened in Monday’s Cowboys-Redskins tilt.

Since I was born, the Redskins have accrued a 25-32 record against the Cowboys. Some of those were big wins and some of those were big losses. Redskin losses typically followed a similar pattern of anger and sadness for multiple days while growing up. Losses to the Cowboys, Giants, and Eagles were taken the worst since they were followed by taunting from rival fans (though the worst losses were against teams the Redskins should have beaten only to fall flat after big wins).

As for Monday’s loss, a few minutes were spent in thought about the loss and then I pushed the game aside and moved on with my life. So the Cowboys beat the Redskins. Who cares? History has shown that the Redskins can beat the Cowboys and the Cowboys can beat the Redskins.

Losing to the Cowboys (or any other team) is not the end of the world. The Redskins will win again; the odds are in their favor. Does the game hurt playoff chances? We will find out at the end of the year.

I guess the big lesson is, though I am an fan, I have no control over what will happen in the Redskins game so why spend the next three days pouting on Facebook, Twitter, Myspace (does anyone still use this?) or any other social media, blog, or chatroom.

Life is way too short and way too precious for me to throw away a few days in the fall and winter because a team that has lost 516 times in its history lost yet again. Maybe I'm one of the lucky few that are proud of the things I have achieved so I don’t need to vicariously live and die through a sports franchise like I once did as a young lad.

During the heat of the game, emotions run high and low, which is fine. But why bring those emotions with you for the next few days -- It’s only Week Three. It would be a lot more understandable if you are upset for multiple days when your team loses a playoff game or potential playoff-clinching game.

If you’re happy your team won, great. I’m glad you’re happy. Happiness is a quality people enjoy being around. What is sickening is when people are getting happiness by intentionally making others upset.

The ancient Greeks believed beating someone in competition was more honorable than defeating someone in war. The ancient Greeks were the founders of sports and believed in sportsmanship.

This past weekend I got a good view of sportsmanship during my softball tournament. Teams battled one another to get the win. At the end of the day, we shook hands, wished one another luck and moved on.

It sucks to lose, but it happens. Accepting defeat is not a weakness. Losing teaches one to excel and achieve victory. The greatness of sports is giving everything you have in competition without knowing if you will win or lose.

I guess I’m lucky I’m an athlete because it’s a lesson I've learned in defeat and in victory.

That’s why we keep score.

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