Winning & Losing

Wednesday 21 June, 2000

[This post records a successful attempt at non-attachment, using sport – specifically, football – as the focus. It occurred during the Euro 2000 football championship.]

England lost their first game last week (after being ahead). Then, four days ago, they beat Germany 1-0. I spent all of that day on my own and far removed from all the talk and excitement of the game. It was a new experience for me and I felt calm all day. I enjoyed a peaceful time away from all the drama and didn’t lose my perspective like I normally do when there’s a game on. I may have missed out on the group euphoria and delight which accompanies football gatherings but I’ve had plenty of those. I enjoyed being away from it all and I enjoyed the calmness and the balance.

The experience provided an excellent contrast to the first England match. For that one I got caught up in the excitement of the opening game. This time I remained disconnected from the spectacle. Unattached. For the whole day and most of the game I was calm and balanced. It was a new experience for me and a far more healthy way to enjoy football than committing myself fully, with all the usual expectations, to the hope of success. And I was still able to enjoy the victory.

Well, last night England lost (again, after being ahead) and their tournament is over. I can’t help thinking England’s cultural script (TA) is behind their performances and also their exit from the competition; that they are more comfortable with losing than with winning. Anyway, I did not feel any of the disappointment or frustration which usually accompanies the kind of performance England displayed yesterday. This tournament has been a resounding success. For me, at least.

[Interestingly, it was Germany’s dismal performance at this tournament which caused them to initiate an overhaul of their entire system. That resulted, 10 years later, in their talented group of youngsters knocking England’s so-called ‘golden generation’ out of the World Cup. England have promised a similar overhaul for some time now, yet nothing has changed. Over their history Germany have won six major tournaments and been finalists 13 times. England have won one and been finalists once. Winners & Losers.]

Related post: Stay With the Men, Let Go of Football

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