I’d be the last person to glamorise losing or to extol the virtues of a serial loser but over time I observed we’ve become a people who have an unhealthy fear of losing. In our quest to win at all cost, morality becomes an inconvenience which we hurriedly discard so as not to ‘beset’ us.
This attitude is abundantly evident everywhere we look. Is it in politics, religion, sports, education. That’s perhaps why you will hear of Pastors faking miracles in order to boost church membership; or students involving themselves in sundry exam malpractices. Some trek down the bribery route while others in a more sordid display of depravity use their bodies to negotiate a more favourable result. It sickens me to say that in some cases, parents who ought to set the moral standard are the ones who go ahead to offer pecuniary gifts to lecturers on their children’s behalf; thereby disdaining the warning of God which says, “if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea”. It’s worthy to note how we all claim to believe in God, no matter our religion but judging by behaviour, there aren’t many who appear to believe in what He says. Anyway, that’s another discussion entirely.
I’m reminded of someone of our household many years ago who seems to have believed God however. And to give him credit, you certainly couldn’t accuse him of fearing defeat either. To crown it all, he appeared the epitome of integrity. Well, at least at “first glance”. There was a time when my mum was in the car with our house help at the time, Cletus. Now, Cletus took the concept of integrity to an entirely different level when he received the scolding of his life from mum. While mum was busy venting her anger and frustration because Cletus who had been with us for three years now was none the wiser about how to perform a particular chore, Cletus ever so politely interjected while raising his hand in objection, “Sorry, no be three years ma, na four years”. Neither my mum nor the driver who nearly lost control of the steering wheel knew whether to laugh or to cry. How’s any rational being meant to respond to that? Not a word was said until they got home.
I remarked in an earlier article how our people are so aversed to finding themselves on the losing side in elections that they would prefer to vote for candidates they know very well will only impoverish them the more by stealing the treasury dry, than do the rational thing by voting their conscience. All because they don’t want to “waste” their vote. With glee, difficult to comprehend, they celebrate when their candidates win. By virtue of association, they deceive themselves they have won too. A more grotesque form of sadomasochism is nigh impossible to imagine. A win which brings immeasurably more harm than benefit is an unmistakable loss. A supposed loss, however, which makes its mark by inspiring others is an honourable venture. A loss which makes a dent in the status quo thereby igniting the flame of hope in others that a new dawn is indeed possible is nothing but a win in my book.
Our resort to winning at all cost has on several occasions brought disgrace to our dear nation. To mention one, in our desperate bid to win sporting laurels in the past, we have been known to field overage players in sporting competitions. That’s why football players who claimed to be teenagers “prematurely” stopped growing in height but instead began to balloon in size as their clubs endeavoured to enhance their growth. So embarrassing. Of course, cheating in sporting competitions is not something limited to just one country. Especially when it comes to doping. Russia and China have not only been found guilty of this in the past but incontrovertible evidence of state collusion has sometimes been found, thereby making it a state policy as it were. The wrongs of others however don’t make our wrongs right. Let’s not even talk about the terrible message this passes down to the younger generation, connoting deceit is the best way to go. Needless to say, this orientation systematically unravels the moral strands which ought to hold the society together.
Our youths erroneously associate the carefully choreographed picture of cavorting, scantily clad damsels, draped around an outrageously bejewelled male as he drives the latest wonders on wheels, carelessly offloading the almighty dollar while singing appropriately vulgar lyrics, with winning; so they throw all moral caution to the wind as they stride towards this crest of a lifestyle. Once they get there, no matter how, they have won.
Unknown to the undiscerning and the unwise, this can only result in what I call a losing win. Why? Because a nation where decadence, cheating, might is right induced “victory” is on a fast lane to losing woefully. Such a win seldom produces any winners. Victory just has to be made of more noble stuff. I advocate a win that adds to us as a people and doesn’t decimate, desecrate or invert our values, leading us to a place where the end justifies the means. A win that degrades our minds and upends our values as a society is nothing but a pyrrhic victory. A defeat doesn’t always produce losers just as a win, depending on how you get it, doesn’t always make you a winner. The detrimental effect this has on the mindset of a nation is nothing but a losing win.