Monday, June 23, 2014

Which is worse: a loss or tie?

Whether you are a soccer fan or not, by now you have heard that the US team is competing in the World Cup and came within thirty seconds of advancing to the next round yesterday. Yesterday, the US played Portugal. Portugal scored early, but the US scored late and led by one with less than a minute to go. Portugal scored with about thirty seconds remaining, so the match ended in a tie. Either team can advance to the next round, depending on different circumstances.
Every news show is covering the World Cup this year, and if social media is any indication, people are watching. People are really into it. They believe! #IBelieve, the hashtag chosen by the US team, has been trending on Twitter since last week, with 8 million tweets going out worldwide about yesterday’s game alone.
American fans were devastated by yesterday’s tie and expressed their sadness on Twitter and Facebook. Were you watching? Were your social media streams full of emo posts about the outcome? Americans like winners. Our games don’t end in ties. We have overtime and “sudden death” to ensure there is a victor.

It took a while for the dust to clear and for Americans to understand what the tie means to the US team. It means the US plays Germany this Thursday, and if they win, the US advances to the sweet sixteen.
As the news shows covered the World Cup this morning, one of the experts opined that the US should feel great about Sunday’s match, despite the draw. He said that soccer is different from other sports and Americans need to understand how a draw is viewed. In soccer, there is respect for the game and how it is played. The US, the expert said, should feel good about how it played yesterday. (I was getting ready for work and didn’t catch the names of the panelists.)

Others on the news panel disagreed, some even declaring that a loss would have been better than a draw. He especially did not like that the US team let Portugal score, thus damaging their chances to advance, with just thirty seconds left.
Hearing the comments about the draw made me wonder what you think about win, lose, or draw in other areas of life.

Beyond the soccer match, is it better to tie than to lose? Or, are there times when losing would be better? Does a tie lead to “resting on laurels”? Is there ever a time when winning is not the best outcome? What do you think?

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