What is this growing culture against winning? Perhaps it’s just Utah. Maybe it’s more widespread. In either case, it seems more and more people are embracing a culture of mediocrity in life, not just sports. Maybe the broader, government-entitlement culture has finally hit the point where it’s obvious to even 7-year-old Little League Soccer players who all get a trophy just for trying. Maybe it’s the public school system that has inculcated this culture of mediocrity. You know, public schools are the saviors of democracy, and we wouldn’t know how to play nice in the sandbox if it weren’t for the schools drilling into our heads that there are more important things in life than personal accomplishment. (Sorry Mom and Dad, we don’t need you anymore.)
Normal people – mentally stable human beings – have little difficulty drawing the positive (and desirable) connection between personal accomplishment and life. This relationship is as basic a human understanding as is how winning and sports go hand-in-hand. But not for some people, evidently.
Higher examples of lower expectations seem to be all around us. Take, for example, this article. This sports columnist for the Deseret News argues that we Utahns (presumably all Jazz fans) should not support the Chicago Bulls or the Miami Heat because … well … they’re both better teams than the Jazz. He doesn’t like the Bulls because they now have former Jazz players on the team and – surprise, surprise – the former Jazz players are actually playing better for the Bulls than they did for the Jazz. Evidently, according to this writer, they’re playing better for the Bulls because they were slackers for the Jazz. It couldn’t possibly be because the other Bulls players and coach are better than the other Jazz players and their coach, could it?
He doesn’t like the Miami Heat because LeBron James was “disloyal” to the Cleveland Cavaliers and sought a winning team in the Heat. What a crime! James actually wants to win a championship!
These “experts” still think Jerry Sloan should be coaching the Jazz because he’s done it pretty well for 20 years (seniority, I guess). Instead of realizing Sloan isn’t a “winning” coach – “winning” in the sense that he couldn’t quite get himself to fully adapt to all of his players to help them make that final difference between simply being sometimes competitive versus sometimes champions – these “experts” choose rather to condemn real winners.
But that’s what a culture of mediocrity does to people. It’s excuse-laden. It’s petty. And, most of all, it demonizes real winners among us. Maybe all of them – public school bureaucrats, the Utah High School Activities Association, and Utah’s sports “experts” – should lobby both the Utah State Legislature and the NBA front office not to have champions at all and insist that all players, at whatever level they play, get a trophy just for trying.
There’s a name for the growing culture against winning: losing.