It’s amazing how some athletes can show us how to be both great and gruesome, unheralded and unglamorous, unstoppable and inexorable, all at the same time. It’s incomprehensible how the same athlete can have a triple-double and light up the scoreboard and yet have an attitude and a disposition and a standpoint that sticks out like a sore thumb and stinks up to high Heaven.
And in case you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m talking about Russell Westbrook.
Russell Westbrook may deserve to be the NBA MVP for 2017, but he also deserves a swift kick in the pants and a round wrap on the wrists, at the least. Westbrook stormed off of the basketball court after his Oklahoma City Thunder team lost Game 5 to the heated and hated rival Houston Rockets. To add insult to injury, Westbrook is in competition with Houston’s All-star guard — and his former teammate — James Harden, for the MVP Award.
Sadly, Westbrook could not lose graciously nor could he accept defeat amicably.
And that’s the hallmark and it should be the trademark of every true sportsman. Knowing how to win and learning how to lose is part and parcel of sports. Since professional athletes are role models (note to Charles Barkley), anything they do and everything they say is scrutinized and analyzed to the Nth degree.
Sports and sportsmanship go hand in hand. https://godandsports.net/2014/05/30/sports-and-sportsmanship-go-hand-in-hand/ For the presumptive MVP to have such a great season end on such a grumpy note does not bode well. When you don’t win, it’s chivalrous and courteous to shake hands and wish the winner well. After a loss, moping and muttering and grunting and grumping aren’t acceptable actions for above average athletes. Unfortunately, Westbrook didn’t get the memo.
The moral of the story is this: even when it hurts, and we’re mad and we don’t like how things turn out, let’s dig deep and reach high and stretch wide so that we can show how to lose with grace. Because just as we wax strong when we win, we gain just as much strength, if not more, when we learn to lose like a good sport.