Poor sportsmanship is nothing new to any competitive endeavor. Just recently we watched the newest installment with Serena Williams which progressed into something reminiscent of the Taylor Swift and Kanye West fiasco several years back. Serena did not perform the way she believed she should be performing, blamed an official for HER performance mistakes, and in the end lost the match. At the award ceremony she continued her poor behavior with a display essentially degrading the work and performance of her competitor, Naomi Osaka.
I wish I could say that this behavior was not found in the shooting sports, but it is. Recently, I found myself on the “Osaka” side of this. After a long USPSA match, scores totaled, it came out that I had bested a top 10 USPSA competitor. I was ecstatic. I personally respect this individual, his skill, and work ethic. To him, it was no big deal. You win some you lose some. Then the White Knights showed up (enter Kanye and his cronies). Some of these individuals are my friends. The responses, in essence, were “Yeah, but he had a rough match. His head wasn’t in it. He was thinking about other things.” etc. All of which may be true. AND NONE OF WHICH CHANGES THE FACT HE LOST! Only one individual was supportive of this accomplishment.
I don’t say this to pat myself on the back or as a “poor me” story. I tell this to relate an issue we have as competitors with ego, white knighting, and hero worship. Some people’s ego cannot accept losing. And when they lose, this “reason” is firmly based in something other than their personal performance. In my personal example, this was not the case. The competitor was nothing but gracious and sportsmanly (?) about it. Enter Kanye. Some other individuals could not wrap their head around the fact that a nobody, local shooter, like me could beat a high level national competitor. To right this injustice, they decided to belittle the win. Now, this competitor made no major mistakes in the match, no major malfunctions, no serious score-able errors. He just didn’t have a great match. And guess what, neither did I. But the knights always need to fight someones battles. Mind you, none of them were even close to the top in this match. I believe Steve Anderson would say something about free advise from D class shooters at this point… But I digress.
Finally, some of them could just not handle their “hero” (highest level shooter they personally know) being beaten without some form of excuse. I get it. There’s a reason why the adage “Don’t meet your hero’s.” exists. I’ve done it more than once. So I say unto thee: Be sportsman. Be gracious in both your wins and losses. No one likes a sore loser, or their friends. And no one likes a braggadocios winner. Be humble. And if you do lose, work harder so that you do not lose again.
“Stand, and be true.” – Roland of Gilead