I don’t really get into following Twitter but I couldn’t resist looking at what Piers Morgan posted during the Olympics about Olympians and winning gold.
Here’s a few of his postings at the time for you to consider:
“America has a much better ‘win’ mentality than Britain. We love celebrating losers.”
“Everyone who fails to win Gold is a loser, yes. Not a derogatory comment, just a fact.”
“Ask real winners like Ferguson, Mourinho, Phelps or Bolt if coming 2nd or 3rd means anything.”
Here’s my take on his comments. Most of us like to win, no question about that. My family will tell you that when it comes to family games – ten pin bowling, monopoly, mini golf… I am highly competitive and aim to win. Listening to Mark Todd for example, talk about losing their grasp on a potential gold to fourth, his disappointment was palpable – he and the team really wanted to be the Olympic champions but they weren’t. Yes Mr Morgan, this is a fact but, does that mean however, that we should not still celebrate the fact that the team is ranked 4th in the world in a sport dominated for some time by European countries with resources that far exceed what we as a country can offer? How many of our athletes missed on medals but are ranked in the top 10 in the world? I would argue that we are not losers – far from it. These athletes still inspire, motivate and indirectly encourage others to get out there and give of their best which is probably why they were greeted by so many well-wishers when they arrived home this week. And it was great to hear some of the athletes who did win “unexpected” medals talk about how they hoped they were inspiring others to take up their particular sport.
Perhaps in our classrooms we should adopt Morgan’s approach and apply it in all facets of our lives and tell our students they are losers if they cannot understand a concept, if their test result is only 80% or if they can’t catch or pass a ball with accuracy. Were we to adopt this approach, I would resign tomorrow. As teachers we need to recognise and honour every accomplishment that our students display. Encourage them to aim for gold – absolutely, but destroy their confidence and self-esteem by letting them know that they are losers – yeah, right.
I’ll leave you with this thought – if we didn’t have losers, how could we have winners?