The recognized rules applicable to the sport of Track and Field make the identification of the winner of a race simple and incontrovertible; it is the first of the runners to cross the designated finish line. Additionally, such result is often publicly announced amid the adulation and congratulatory cheers of the crowd. Further, the winner is traditionally given a medal or trophy cup as an official symbol of his successful effort. Thus, from the standpoint of those rules, the identification of the winner is visibly simple; by the same rules, the identification of the ostensible losers is similarly, simple and obvious; it is everyone else who ran.

Separate and apart from the aforementioned rules, there are other (unwritten) criteria whose application, by contrast, would make it difficult to correctly identify the losers.

There are individuals who enthusiastically choose to participate in sporting contests despite their certainty that they have little prospect of winning. They do so for the experience and personal pleasure of participation. These individuals deserve our commendation. Such acts are indications of healthy sportsmanship, personal security and even, perhaps, strength of character.

There are also many who run for more profound, especially meaningful, personal trophies.  Such people are those hampered by disability, physical or mental, recent convalescents and others who seek the personal award of self-assurance and a” can-do” sense of competency. The valuable prizes earned by such people, the feeling of assured competence and a personal sense of adequacy, by virtue of such performances, are rewards far exceeding medals or public recognition. Their brave efforts, usually unknown to the spectators, are all victorious, regardless of the order in which each has reached the finish line.

There are. notably, a plethora of “winners” and “losers,” outside the stadium setting; many of whom  experienced  poverty, disability or  other unfortunate settings in early life.  Many have laudably overcome such misfortune and dire adversity by their sheer will and effort; sometimes to such a degree that they are in fact, celebrated and honored by an adoring public.

P., it should be noted, reserves his greatest accolades and fanfare for those who begin their lives with such impediments, whether economic or physical, and who, by perseverance,  have succeeded, in attaining a decent life for themselves and family. These individuals whose admirable success,  while not of such magnificence and scale  as to engage public notice and social recognition, are indeed deserving of the greatest of commendation, albeit their success is not broadcast to stadium spectators.

We may need to re-think our sensitivities in the employment of the words, “winner” and” loser.


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Retired from the practice of law'; former Editor in Chief of Law Review; Phi Beta Kappa; Poet. Essayist Literature Student and enthusiast.

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