Gerald detested losing in whatever he did. His parents, teachers and many friends said he did not know how to lose, but the truth of it was that he couldn’t stand losing, not even at playing marbles.
He felt so great every time he won that he would never give up that feeling for anything in the world. On top of that, losing made him feel precisely the opposite—miserable. For Gerald losing was the worst thing that could happen to anyone. If there were a game Gerald was not brilliant at, he simply would not play it. However, if he were going to win he would take part, even if the game lasted only a minute. He never resisted from playing table football, his favourite game.
One day, a kid started called Shyaka started studying at Gerald’s school. Shyaka was a great table football player, and it did not take Gerald and Shyaka long before they challenged each other.
Gerald prepared for the match with great seriousness. He was concentrated and intense. Shyaka, on the other hand, seemed not to be taking the game seriously. He walked about the whole time, smiling and cracking jokes about all sorts of things. However, on the football table, Shyaka was a real phenomenon. He scored goals repeatedly, laughing and joking all the time. However, Shyaka was paying so little attention to the match that Gerald managed to change the scoreboard. While he looked away, Gerald managed to win by cheating. Gerald made a big thing of his win, but it did not matter to Shyaka.
“It’s been fun. We should play again some other time,” said Shyaka.
On that day, people at school talked about little else. Gerald’s great victory was on everyone’s lips. However, that night, Gerald did not feel so happy. He had won, but even with that, there was no trace of the joyful feeling he experience after every win. What’s more, Shyaka hadn’t felt bad about losing. He almost seemed to enjoy it. Moreover, to top it all, the next day Gerald saw Shyaka playing basketball. He was absolutely hopeless; he lost time after time. However, Shyaka’s happy smile never left his face.
For several days, Gerald watched the new school kid do his thing. He was great at some things, terrible at others - to an embarrassing degree - but he enjoyed everything equally. Gerald began learning that to enjoy a game you did not have to have a scoreboard; neither was it important that you win or lose. What you had to do was enjoy the game for its own sake, trying to do well, and enjoying each moment on the playground.
Finally, Gerald found himself playing hide and seek, telling a joke while playing table football, and regretting that a particularly fun game he was playing was soon about to end. In addition, without really knowing why, the older kids started commenting amongst themselves,
“Good fun playing with Gerald, that kid sure isn’t a sore loser.”
Ethics of the story:
To know how to win or lose gracefully is important in order to actually enjoy what you are doing, and not to give so much importance to the result.