Defeat, Tears, and Bitterness

by Kale

“Ferrari is a team and I am the goalkeeper. If we lose, it’s because I’m an idiot; but if we win, it’s down to the while lot of us.”

– Enzo Ferrari

I’m the idiot. A bloody idiot.

It’s the games again at the university. But, unlike before, participation is mandatory. Personally, I think that decreases the sense of enjoyment that can be gained from such an event because freedom is severely diminished with such a rule hovering above our heads.

In such a situation, a person would have to choose and pick a game or any event whatsoever that one can participate in. Even if your athleticism is but a pinch. Even if your skills are only remotely acceptable. Even if your talents are beautifully hidden.

Now, what works for me is to not participate. If I don’t register, I don’t have to be in school. If I don’t have to be in school, I can be in front of my computer. If I am in front of my computer, I can get things done.

Nevertheless, I had to. However, when it comes to sports, I’m quite lethargic. Especially ball games. For gone are the days when we could play ball games the way we wanted to and without someone watching us imposing rules created by the people who first met a certain ball.

I bike. And that’s it.

We played kickball. For the unfamiliar, it’s a rather hybrid game. You play on either a softball or a baseball field. You use the same rules. However, instead of using a bat and a softball or a baseball, you use a football. Now you should already have a general picture of how the game is played.

We lost.

And that defeat is my responsibility in more ways than one.

Firstly, I lead them. We played softball for an entire quarter in P.E. during the Team Games year in high school. Nobody else seemed to know about it. I’ve absolutely no idea what they did in their own high schools. Naturally, they listened to me.

By Enzo Ferrari’s words, I was the proverbial goalkeeper. We lost. I’m an idiot.

Secondly, I was the one who sent the ball flying and got me and three of my teammates out. Fly balls are easy to catch. I knew that much. What I didn’t know was how weak I kicked that ball. As it flew, I knew that it would have been more surprising if it didn’t get caught.

It was the first inning. We didn’t score a single run. I’m still the idiot.

Thirdly, the worst and the exact reason why I feel the way I do right now, I gravely miscalculated. I thought I had the correct statistics. I thought that if we only defended so well that they wouldn’t gain another point, we would’ve won already. We did manage to have better defences. They never gained another point after the first inning. We played defence so we get to have the last turn. I was so complacent I didn’t bother about getting a run.

Turns out the statistics that game official gave me was wrong. It was off by five for the opposing team. I thought we were ahead.

We weren’t. I couldn’t have counted the runs myself. I’m such a bloody idiot.

Nevertheless, the game could still have been saved. We still could’ve won. We only needed five more runs. If only I didn’t make another mistake. If only it wasn’t my turn to kick next.

You see, instead of risking a fly ball, I deliberately kicked the ball weakly so that it wouldn’t fly. I knew I would risk not being able to reach first base because the ball would be too near but I did it anyway thinking I’d be the only one getting off the game.

Wrong.

Again.

Apparently, me not reaching the first base also meant the rest of the people already standing in the bases getting off the game, too. It made three of us. Game over.

Idiot, idiot, idiot.

Defeat doesn’t come to me too often. (I didn’t mean to brag.) But when it does come, I never like it. I can accept it; but I can’t like it. Nobody does. We’re all but humans. And humans naturally hate to lose.

We’re also naturally competitive. And this was all but spurred by the doctrine of the survival of the fittest. Darwin’s theory of evolution hails man as the ultimate species.

Such an attitude isn’t the source of evil. But, like everything else, it has to be kept in moderation. A healthy sense of competition has pushed mankind to the technology and progress that we have achieved. Otherwise, we all might still be living in caves and you wouldn’t be reading this.

On the other hand, having too much, or too little, for that matter, can be very destructive. It can divert you from the path to your goal. It can even blind you from seeing your goal. Ultimately, it can derail you.

I haven’t experienced defeat in a long time. Not like this. Bitter might be too strong a word. Yet I cannot find anything else. My teammates trusted me, I lead them, and I let them down too much.

We all laughed about it, of course. I didn’t hear anyone complaining against me. Nobody attacked me.

But I’m not cut from the same cloth as they are. I will bear this. I will remember this.

I can tell myself, If it’s any consolation, everyone knows you’re not an athlete. Everyone knows you don’t play ball. That wasn’t so bad a performance. Besides, it was just a game. It’s not as if it was a major league tournament.

I can’t. I can’t accept that. That can’t console me.

I was there. I don’t play just so I could lose. If I wasn’t such an idiot, we would’ve won.

I’ve learnt not to get disappointed. But that only covers other people. By not expecting so much from others… By not expecting anything of others, I can’t get disappointed.

However, I expect so much of myself and this type of performance is way below any acceptable personal standard. I will not forget this. I might never do.

Nevertheless, I don’t ever let myself dwell on that which is past. The show must go on. Life keeps moving forward and I can never let myself get left behind.

From this experience, I learnt my lessons. And lessons exist so that we may be guided on our way forward. And the way forward remains no matter how many times we fall. It’s all a matter of standing up and taking off from there.

On another note, I haven’t said anything about the tears yet. They weren’t from me. That I can assure you. This was supposed to be the lighter side of everything. But I’ve already talked too much here I’d have to put it somewhere else.

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