I went to my first bowl game yesterday with my 18-year-old. It turned out to be a forgettable experience. The Memphis Tigers got hammered 31-10 by Auburn in what was easily our worst performance of the last two seasons. Still, the Tigers finished 9-4, but after starting the season 8-0, I was hoping for a little better finish.
After the game, one of our players apparently swiped the game ball from one of the Auburn equipment people and carried it around the field with his middle finger extended to the crowd. What a regrettable way to finish your college career. It’s one thing to lose. Sometimes losing isn’t preventable. You play your hardest but the other team is simply better. It’s quite another thing to lose your dignity. No one else can do that to you. It’s something you control.
The University of Memphis, to its credit, responded quickly and removed the offending player from the team. He’s a senior, so the move is largely symbolic, but this is not the way you want to be remembered after putting in 4 years of effort.
I see it all the time. It’s not just the players. Fans can make fools of themselves, too. Even people who are older than me and ought to know better sometimes get caught up in the emotion of a football game (or some other sport) and spout off their mouths. Winners can be just as bad as losers. I don’t like losing. I try not to let it affect my behavior, and so I keep myself in check. It’s best to internalize your frustrations. I find that I get over losing rather quickly. After all, I haven’t lost anything, except a little team pride, and team pride certainly isn’t worth losing your dignity over.