Editorial: Valuable lessons learned

Jun. 09, 2014 @ 11:34 PM

Horse racing only captures the passing interest of most of us in the Tri-County each spring. But we hope youngsters and adults alike were taking notice this weekend, even if they don’t have plans for the sport.

We got a lesson in sportsmanship. And it goes for all competitions, not just those easily thought of in athletics.

Steve Coburn, co-owner of a horse, embarrassed himself and his sport miserably after being denied victory on Saturday.

Society in this early 21st century is arguably competitive as ever. We can’t imagine a time when the thrill of victory, the race to the top, the quest to be the best wasn’t as keen as it is now.

It spreads over so many spectrums. We provide accolades and promotion to those who ascend to the top, no matter what area of expertise or what level of competition.

We’ve even tried to be sure everyone “wins.” Where once we gave awards just for those at the top, we now regularly see what is commonly referred to as “participation trophies” to everyone.

After all, nobody should be left out, or endure hurt feelings. Or at least, so the theory goes in some manner or likeness.

Whether an adult or a child, all willing to enter into competition need to first understand the basic premise. Competition means a separation will occur — winners and non-winners being most common. The late Dale Earnhardt, among auto racing’s most popular ever, described second place as “first place loser.”

“Loser” can be considered harsh, but it was the first not to win. He was more right than wrong.

Just a mere weekly sampling of posts appearing from Facebook friends on The Dispatch’s page attests to the many, many competitions that surround us daily. We’d like to say all the posts indicate good sportsmanship.

But reality is too many in today’s society are not getting a very important takeaway. When we compete, it is important to give our all, and it is also important to be gracious in defeat.

We don’t have to like any of life’s circumstances, including losing in competition. But respecting others and their efforts requires only that we be ladies and gentlemen.

The value is priceless, even in the sport of kings.