OPINION | Derek Rodgers: What’s wrong with winning?

When is winning wrong? As a child, I grew up in a very competitive neighborhood. The city public schools that I attended were also competitive.…

When is winning wrong? As a child, I grew up in a very competitive neighborhood. The city public schools that I attended were also competitive. I was taught that winning is everything. I was taught that losing is a sign of weakness. The boys who were winning were the REAL men. The boys who were losing were considered weak men. Victory was the way to validate our manhood. Winning by any means necessary was a motto. Victory was the goal in schoolwork, sports, physical fights, and attracting the opposite sex. Winning is a good thing, right? So please explain how winning has become wrong?

Every man and woman wants to win in his or hers career. No one wants to be considered a loser. No man or woman wants to be labeled as an underachiever. A winner is a person who is respected and adored. But recently, there appears to be a new trend emerging. The winner is now over analyzed and overly criticized. The winner must now explain how his or hers greatness is acceptable. This hatred for greatness is revealed in several different aspects of society. Trump had to explain how he gained his wealth. Obama had to explain how he became President without the traditional pedigree. The New England Patriots were accused of cheating in football several times. The person or team who wins is now put on trial. Why?

The National Basketball Association has crowned its champion for the 2018 season, the Golden State Warriors. The Golden State Warriors won the NBA championship two consecutive seasons. This accomplishment should be celebrated and respected by all fans and athletes around the world. But the Warriors are accused of ruining the NBA because they continue to win and play a high quality of basketball. How did a basketball team, that did not break any rules, become hated for their greatness? While, there are several theories to answer that question. I will focus on just one.

This theory involves the addition of and negative press about Kevin Durant. Kevin Durant was criticized for joining a great basketball team. The irony is that basketball is a team sport. Why is it wrong for a great player to join a great team? Why is Kevin Durant called a snake for humbling himself and becoming a part of a great organization? What is the motivation behind the animosity of the Warriors success? I always thought good players should work together to make each other successful.

If Durant chose to join a winning organization that respects its players, we should show him some respect. Winning should never be frowned upon; as long as you obey the rules. I wonder what the criticism would be if Durant stayed with his original team and continued to lose. I have met people who value losing and call it, “keeping it real.” Some people consider self-improvement as a form of cheating.

Why is improving yourself wrong? Why is choosing a new institution or a new team wrong? I moved my son from a public school to a private school and received criticism for it. I chose to improve his stock and increase his value. I chose to put him in a position to nurture all of his natural gifts. Self-improvement should be the number one goal in life. Each of us should learn from men and women who make the decision to improve their lives. Follow their example.

When the Golden State Warriors won the championship a few weeks ago, I read an article that said an asterisk should be placed next to their name. I viewed this as a sign of disrespect. What is the subliminal message that is broadcasted when the media and social commentators continue to label Durant as a cheater for making a good team better? What are the children learning when they see Durant ridiculed for humbling himself to be a small part of a bigger machine. I always tell my son to be a small part of a winning program instead of the king of a losing program.

I view Kevin Durant as a genius. I view Kevin Durant as a hero and a positive role model. He is a superstar who humbled himself to become a champion. The Warriors are a classy organization for allowing him to come onboard. The other players on the team showed humility and swallowed their pride as they learned to work together. Many other teams had superstars who played together but they did not win. The Rockets in the 90’s, the Lakers in the 2000’s, the Clippers, the Brooklyn Nets, and many other teams have assembled All-Star classes and could not win championships together. The Warriors were able to do it twice. This is a great example of being able to combat pride.

But why is it not celebrated? Because too many other players and fans are filled with pride. This example of humility breeds guilt in the people watching because now they know there is no excuse for them not winning. The Warriors were expected to self-destruct with all the talent they have. No one wanted to see their plan succeed because it would prove that the humble do in fact win.

By: Derek Rodgers

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