Fighting Is Not For Fun

Redskins and Texans

When we use the word “fight “ in connection with sports, we are usually speaking in figurative, and not literal language. Fighting for the win and fighting to the finish and fighting for your life are not literal terms; they are figurative and fictional, allegorical and metaphorical and NOT literal. At least most of the time. In other words, when a coach says, “get out there and fight,” he doesn’t mean go and pick a fight with the other team. At least not literally.

Philadelphia Eagles' Jason Peters, right, and Washington Redskins' Chris Baker, left, tussle after a fourth-quarter play as line judge Darryll Lewis tries to break it up during an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014, in Philadelphia. Both players were ejected. Philadelphia won 37-34. (AP Photo/Philadelphia Daily News, David Maialetti)
Philadelphia Eagles’ Jason Peters, right, and Washington Redskins’ Chris Baker, left, tussle after a fourth-quarter play as line judge Darryll Lewis tries to break it up during an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014, in Philadelphia. Both players were ejected. Philadelphia won 37-34. (AP Photo/Philadelphia Daily News, David Maialetti)

Why then did the Washington Redskins and the Houston Texans fight each other at a SCRIMMAGE? A.K.A., “Practice.” (Not a game … Not a game, but “Practice.” — where is Allen Iverson when you need him?) To be sure, only a few unfavored felons actually started the fight, but both teams seemed to get totally involved, much to the enjoyment of hundreds of faithful fans along the sidelines and thousands more who shared the viral video online.

http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=espn:13399329

http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=espn:13399506

What have we come to? Are we more excited about bad news than good? Are we more entertained by fighting than good ole-fashioned smash mouth football? Apparently so. Sad to say, this was the No. 1 sports story of the day.

Other than boxing, fighting is not for amusement or merriment. In other words, fighting is not for fun or fanfare. In sports and in life, we fight for an ultimate goal and a supreme purpose. We fight the devil and his dastardly, dubious demons of defeat and despair, discouragement and dismay. Fight them. Fight them tooth and nail. Fight them hard; fight them fierce. And fight for those who cannot fight for themselves, because fighting is not for fun.

So let’s put the fight back where it belongs; in our hearts and souls. Let’s fight the temptation to flash and flare out at our opponent in an unsportsmanlike way. And our opponents may not be on the field. They may be an extraordinary antagonist or an everyday adversary. But don’t let them foil your focus or frustrate your fancy of winning; keep your eye on the prize, because fighting is not just for a scrimmage or a game; fighting is spiritual; fighting is not a game; fighting is real.

The Art of Winning and The Science of Losing

cup+dennis+flag

Winning is an art. Losing is a science. There are no guarantees that my Eagles will win Sunday’s game against the Dallas Cowgirls, I mean Cowboys. None. But with proper planning, excellent execution, and the ball bouncing just the right way, my Eagles should be fine. In sports speak, that’s called “Art.” That being said, there is a long list of lessons and a lengthy, litany of logistics that must be learned in order to earn a victory and avoid defeat.

Losing is a science. It can be done in a few short and simple steps. Just ask this season’s edition of the Philadelphia 76ers (and the Los Angeles Lakers and the New York Knicks, for that matter). Opposite of winning, if you don’t command or at least comprehend the fact that winning is an art, you will easily marshal and master and collect and accumulate the dirty laundry of losing.

The Art of Winning

Dennis Conner (born September 16, 1942) is an American yachtsman, known as “Mr. America’s Cup”. He is noted for winning the bronze medal at the 1976 Olympics, two Star World Championships, and four wins in the America’s Cup. He also wrote the book “The Art of Winning.” I guess I’ll have to add it to my reading list.

Winning takes more than “x’s” and “o’s”; it takes more than practice (Practice? Where’s Allen Iverson when we need him!); and it takes more than having the best team and the best players on paper. Art is defined as “a diverse range of human activities and the products of those activities.” In other words, true art isn’t “painting by the numbers.” It takes skill, savvy, flair and finesse to carefully create a piece of art and to actually envision a winsome win.

Losing takes little more than doing all, or just some, of the wrong things. Losing is a science, and science is defined as a “systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions.” It’s been tried and tested that poor, pathetic players all share the same attributes: they’re lazy and lethargic and listless and lackluster, and they lack the energy and the effort and the efficiency and the effectiveness that it takes to win.

In other words, it’s no secret that poor practice leads to poor performance. It’s no secret that team chemistry is a must for team wins. And it’s no secret that excellence and dominance and preeminence don’t just come out of thin air. Team turmoil and problem players are the raw material for licentious locker rooms. And that’s just a start. Pointing fingers and laying blame are part and parcel of a team that has nowhere to go but up.

And so if you want to win in life, acquire a taste for art. Not necessarily fine art, but the art of being kind and considerate and congenial and commendable. Learn the art of speaking with salt and giving with grace. Learn the art of being nice and benign, of being benevolent and compassionate, and of being concerned and considerate. And when it comes to sports, never mind mastering the sciences; focus on being an artisan and not being partisan, especially when it comes to dealing with people and persons and folks and family and all sorts of citizens of our society. You’ll be glad you did.