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The coronavirus may turn me into a better loser

The coronavirus may turn me into a better loser.

(Now THERE is a way to begin a column, if I do say so myself.)

I know. Some of you read this daily drivel and think I couldn't possibly be a bigger loser, let alone a better one. Thanks for reading nonetheless. And let me explain.

At some point, sports will begin again. And I may just watch them differently, perhaps with a new appreciation for the competition, not just the outcome. Translation: Losing will disappoint me, sure. But maybe not make me so irritable.

Friends of mine have seen my comportment after my team loses. It's not pretty. I was 10 in 1978 when Joe Pisarcik fumbled. I cried. I was 46 in 2015 when BC football lost to Wake Forest 3-0. (Yes, 3-0). Got stopped on the 1-yard line to end the game, too. I threw the remote against the wall. Not much changed in 36 years. Not much has changed today. I still allow the Giants to ruin every fall Sunday.

But I've tried to approach the days of the coronavirus with a particular attitude: What can we learn from this? How can this make us/me better on the other side? I mean no disrespect to the people who have tested positive or lost loved ones. Believe me. I'm simply trying a positive attitude in the face of perhaps the most abrupt change to life we've ever experienced as a society.

And the words of Joni Mitchell echo: Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you got till it's gone.

It's here I realize what I truly miss about sports: the privilege of losing. Because losing means that we got to compete in the first place. And the competition is the baseline for all that is good. Competition makes us better. The threat of losing makes winning sweeter. It may be the best evidence yet that it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. Because we got in the arena and competed. We got, as Teddy Roosevelt said, "marred by dust and sweat and blood." But we lived. And might have learned something along the way for next time.

What I wouldn't give to watch the Yankees lose again. It means I'll have lost myself for three hours. I didn't have to watch another documentary. Joyful stress. And it'll make the next day's game more interesting.

I'm not saying I'll adopt this plan smoothly. My neighbors may issue a "the Giants must me losing again" at around 1:12 p.m. on a fall Sunday, based on language and decibels. But I'd like to think we can learn a similar lesson from this.

Next time we moan and groan about losing, your kid didn't play enough, the coach is an idiot or the referee is on the take, let's remember the pure joy in being where we are.

Have I mentioned it beats watching another documentary?

I know there are hundreds (and hundreds) of kids who yearn for a spring season. Just to be out there again. With their friends. One last time. One last shot. Maybe they've realized it's not the winning they miss. Winning is merely a happy byproduct. The competition is what they miss. It'll be back for all of us at some point.

I hope I watch sports differently upon their return. I hope you do, too.

At no point did I ever honestly believe I'd type the words "privilege of losing." But after what feels like a complete reboot of our existence, I think maybe I'm finally appreciating how sports truly should fit into our days and nights.

I always allow for the words I type to be thrown back in my face. A profanity-laced tirade at Daniel Jones could be coming at the Birdseye in a few months. But I'm sure going to try harder. Kind of like Avis. Maybe we can all learn something from this new normal.

This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro


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