Rule 74: Winning is a deodorant
I was reading about the recent firing of Eagles’ coach Chip Kelly and found a number of sports writers were fond of the expression…”winning is a deodorant”.
As I thought about the Eagles season, and Chip’s firing I believe that if Chip had 1 more win he would have been allowed to run the team as he wanted, for at least another year. When it came down to it, how he did it, and how much he stunk up this city and this team in the process didn’t matter. What covered up the smell of all those crappie decisions was winning…and when the winning was gone the smell became intolerable.
I’m not advocating for a Machiavellian view of the world that every “end” justifies every “mean”. But I do think why we embrace the sport of football so passionately is that winning is understood not only as the goal but the whole purpose of the game. We as Americans embrace winning as a culture.
I think in the current Presidential elections the reason Donald Trump is getting so much support is that he understands that desire to ” win” is fundamental to our society. That people like to feel their leaders will do anything to keep the country winning as the world’s leader. I think the reasons Republicans are embracing his sometimes insane statements is that they are sick of losing. Losing stinks. (personally I think he is crazy, but people miss winning)
Right now if a convicted murderer came into Philadelphia and showed a path to having ANY Philadelphia team win they would be given a pardon for all past failings as long as they put wins on the board. As bad as the Eagles and Phillies are, the 76ers are worse… I think OJ has a job waiting for him when he is paroled as long as he can win.
There is a stink to losing that no matter how many participation trophies are given out nothing but winning can cover up. In business I am often frustrated by those who have learned to live with the smell of an almost win. They do a good job, work on a lot of projects but never get to the objectives and get a win.
Its hard not to appreciate a job well done, and the effort made. But you run 26 miles but don’t finish the last 385 yards, no matter how you look at it you’re a good runner but not a marathoner. Doing well matters, but winning and finishing matters a little bit more in our world.
I know this rule will upset a lot of moms and dads who want to see the world treat their children a little more compassionately or a little more kindly. That the grim message of the rule that “winning” matters will make it world seem a little more nasty and hard.
But I am finding a lot of people struggling to understand why they are not getting promotions, raises or achieving business success. After all they show up for work, they don’t steal and they try really hard most days. Sure they aren’t driving the ball forward, but they aren’t doing any harm either. Shouldn’t this dedication and focus count for something?
In life winning matters. Getting the account, selling the car or fixing the air conditioner matters more than just giving out a good proposal or almost getting the cold air to work. Value comes from delivering a result, to achieving the win.
I think I do a disservice to my children by keeping the idea that winning matters from them, and hurt them by telling them its about having fun and enjoying themselves. Because winning is hard, and effort is require.
I worry about our society when the focus in on not finding pathways out of minimum wage jobs at McDonald but on making these jobs more attractive. Cooking fries at McDonalds, although noble in that it is honest work, isn’t winning- its participating. Making it $15 instead of $7.50 an hour doesn’t make it winning either, it just makes it a shinier participation trophy. The job still stinks, just pays more.
Using this job to get a better job, by doing well at it is winning. Becoming an assistant manager then a manager is winning. The people who “win” their way out of these participation roles deserve our greatest praise, they have earned their wins they were not given them. They smell the best.
Life stinks a lot of the time. As I have said repeatedly in this blog, life is hard. But life is also a wonderful gift, and although hard to achieve, the rewards of winning are real and can bring true joy to our lives. Winning is also highly addictive, when you have tasted nothing ever smells as good .. ask any Phillies fan that can remember 1980. Once you smell it everything else stinks.
And the stink of the Eagles is particularly pungent today.