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March 03, 2014


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Basketball coach John Wooden emphasized the effort rather than the winning. Seemed to work fine for him.


I will agree with you when it comes to school sports, but I can't agree with this about racing. Yes effort matters. Yes you can't expect someone driving for Front Row or Marussia or DDR or Ducati to win very often. But racing IS about winning. Period. As Senna once said "if you don't go for the gap, you're no longer a racing driver." Pushing for the win is what makes racing exciting. One of the biggest problems in modern racing are the points racers who focus on consistency rather than winning. They take away the excitement in racing and lead to less passing and fighting for the win. As for the bad behavior issue I think it's subjective. The Busch brother have been punished, but I do think that winners deserve a bit of a break. As well when someone who is successful complains it is taken a lot more seriously than someone who is not. Will Power flipping of Race Control means a lot more than some random ridebuyer doing so. Valentino Rossi criticizing MotoGP matters in a way that some random Moto3 rider does not. Wins and success brings credibility.


But how do you get to winning, Dylan? What's it take to win other than max effort every time? If you focus on effort over time then your performance increases over time and that will lead to winning. If you focus on winning, and you don't win, then what? Try harder, work harder, become mentally stronger? Seems like we're back to effort.


Perfect post to pull out some Hoosiers quotes:
"If you put your effort and concentration into playing to your potential, to be the best that you can be, I don't care what the scoreboard says at the end of the game, in my book we're gonna be winners."

Also, Talladega Nights never won an Oscar because of how unrealistic it is. Kyle Petty qualifying 6th in a mid 2000's race? Even Driven didn't stretch the truth that much.


All competitive efforts, but sports in particular, are geared towards....winning. Why else keep score?

At the instructional level (youth sports in particular) is where the demented parents/coaches place the wrong emphasis ("did you win?"). It should always be about how much effort is placed as well as effort applied properly (coaching/mentoring/etc) that will eventually lead to winning, or at the least laudable effort that one can take satisfaction in.

Ron Ford

I agree Bill, particularly in youth sports. That reality show "Friday Night Tykes" shows some disgusting adult behavior. Being from Wisconsin it has always irritated me that Vince Lombardi supposedly said: Winning isn't everything, it is the only thing. What he actually said was "Winning is not everything, but making the effort to win is."

All seriousness aside, for those NASCAR driver who are without a win after 200-400 races and still have sponsors, winning is definitely not everything with them.



Far too often circumstances beyond a drivers control dictate their finishes and the fans/media jump on that as if it's the gospel.

Tammy Kaehler

It's effort that makes magic on a racetrack. Plenty of people are good, and plenty of equipment is top-notch. But the magic happens when you've got a talented driver in a great car and they're called on to do something extraordinary (from sportscar racing: Allan McNish in the rain at Le Mans).

Yes, there's a ton that's not under the driver's control (car, etc.), but wanting it and being willing to work for it makes more winners than podium placements.

That's why I focus on what Kate does on track in my books, with an occasional podium. I'm honestly not sure if/when she'll ever win a race ... because that's not the point so much as Kate achieving something remarkable based on her own abilities.


This makes me think of something I believe Tommy Lasorda said. During a baseball season you will win 50 games and lose 50 games just because "that's baseball". The rest of the games are up on you, they are won by talent, strategy and good decisions.

Racing isn't much different. A good driver/team will win races because their car was just that good and things went their way, and they will lose some due to things being completely out of their control. But what separates a Jimmie Johnson, Scott Dixon, etc from everyone else is when they are put in the position to win they put it away. When it's go time is when the talent takes over, but there are so many circumstances you have to work through to get to that point. And that's where the effort comes in.

So it's definitely all about effort, because you have to work your tail off to get to "winning time". One thing I've realized being around pro athletes is that losses definitely sting (some more than others), but they can live with them if they know they did their best.

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