Winning is a wonderful thing. But how you win is a whole other game.
For the first time in 17 years, my favorite team, the Baltimore Orioles, clinched a division title. I’m not bragging, really! But being a baseball fan in my town and calling yourself a “winner?" These things don't happen too often. The O’s locker room celebration consisted of players and staff spraying Champagne on each other, singing, dancing, and more importantly thanking the city for its support. I was most happy with that last part because it showed both class and appreciation..
And that brings me to the sad part we often see when witnessing a victory celebration--the lack of proper etiquette. Whether or not you believe that dousing yourself in alcohol is the way to celebrate is not the issue. It’s your ability to be gracious as a winner, respectful, and appreciative of the others who helped make that happen that mean the most. So, before you allow your hand to be raised in victory, check out my top three quick and dirty tips for the etiquette of winning.
Tip #1: The Respect Factor
As many of you know, I spent more than eight wonderful years as a professional wrestler. I have to point this out because even though people think pro wrestling is a bunch of hooligans kicking the crap out of each other, it’s really just “soap-opera style” entertainment. It’s not like cage fighting or boxing with actual violence. In fact, in wrestling a “victory” is a two-person action. I only won because someone was willing to allow me to (and vice-versa). It was decided way before I laced up my boots and squeezed myself into my skintight "pleather" pants. (Hey, I know I'm a respectable dad now; this was a long time ago.) After a win, I’d run around the ring, pointing to the crowd and waving my championship belt in the air. I was required to do that. But, in my mind, I was thinking about how it was the other guy in the fight who made it possible. With that, the first thing I would do after a match--win or lose --was thank my opponent for his time and spirit, and for allowing me to “shine” (a term we use for winning). You know, like a gentleman. PS - Sorry to shatter the myth, folks. But that's how professional wrestling works.
So, now we all know that professional wrestling is not a “real sport,” and the emotions of winning are just for show, but the respect factor was very authentic. And that, my friends, is one of the most important characteristics a real competitor should posess. So when you win, it’s, of course. proper to celebrate – many times you can’t even control yourself because you’re so happy - but in the end, you can’t forget your opponent. Even if it’s a bitter rivalry, real competitors respect the process. When you win, the proper thing to do is to thank your opponent like a mature adult. “Wait, MMG, did you just say thank your… opponent?” Yup, I did. Opponents are not enemies – they’re competitors. You only get better by having quality opponents and that’s something that should be respected. Anything less shows a lack of class, and appreaciation for your field.