Monday, January 07, 2008

no risk no reward?

Is it better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all?

I had a friend that would regularly tell me, "Yeah, I'm lousy at showing up on time. I'm just telling you now."

I don't think it's a stretch to say that being late is rude. It happens to all of us. All of us are rude at different points in our lives. When we show up late - it's because of traffic, conversations or meetings that went later than we expected...or whatever. But when we consistently show up late to meet with people - aren't we kind of saying, "Hey, I know I'm always late...but I'm just not that interested in getting here to meet you"? or "I'm pretty important, and if you have to sit around and wait for me...well, that's not that big of a deal because you're not that big of a deal"?

Anyhow, not the point.

This was just a way of setting low expectations for himself. By telling people what he was going to screw up in the future, that somehow made it ok for him to go ahead and do it.

I grew up with a guy that I would regularly play with or compete against. Often he'd beat me at whatever and then I'd obsess over the game or sport for the next couple of weeks. I'd keep practicing and then play him again. If I beat him he'd often say, "well sure you beat me, you always practice and I never do" He would have won the Olympic gold medal of 'I'd win this if I actually tried, cared or practiced'

I've seen this a million times in myself and others with sports. The rabid (fill in the blank) fans become the apathetic - we didn't ever really care - fans, once their team loses four out of their first five games. It's how many of us cope. I've seen a bunch of this living around Penn State fans when they were really bad - living around Bengals fans - and being a Pirates fan myself. It doesn't hurt as much when they lose if you just decide you don't care that much. The shift around this city this year of passion to apathy was startling.

So the Steelers lost the other day. As a friend was mocking me about the game, I couldn't help but think of the guy who got cut from the freshman basketball team and then made fun of the guys who made the team - but didn't win league. It seemed ironic or silly.

So my question is - is it better to be a playoff team that loses in the first round than a team that doesn't make the playoffs at all?

Is it better to make the playoffs if you don't make it to the Superbowl...or win it all?
Should I want my team to either win the Super Bowl or be the worst team in the league? This way I'll either experience the thrill of winning it all, or the thrill of getting the first pick in the draft.

Is it better to just not care than to deal with the disappointment of losing a big game?

I was steeped in the theology/life coaching/philosophy of negativism/pessimism from a very young age. I remember having it explained to me that things are better for pessimists because then they aren't disappointed when things inevitably go bad. I've since read several times that the pessimists experience drastically different levels of joy/elation/satisfaction in life. They also don't live as long...but I guess they could see that coming...

All this to say - is it cool if I really care if OSU wins tonight? I know it's just football. I know that ultimately it doesn't matter...and I can't really say my life is changed for the better because they won the national championship a few years ago. I just want them to win.

or at least get a good draft pick next year...


  1. The Steelers lost? Didn't even notice.

    Ohio State plays tonight? Interesting. I hope I get a chance to catch a couple minutes of the game.

    Not that I care or anything.

  2. my philosphy...if it all falls apart ("it" being whatever i am excited about) then i am going to be disappointed. if i lie to myself ahead of time by trying to "not get my hopes up" what do i really save? i'm still disappointed. so i might as well live fully and feel the excitement when it comes and the disappointment if it comes. life according to carissa....i know, i know you want to hear more...maybe later. : )

  3. Just to keep things honest, I'm pretty sure you noticed the Steelers lost, Steve. :-)