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Sore loser

[ 2010-05-14 11:47]     字号 [] [] []  
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Sore loserReader question

Please explain the term “sore loser”. What kind of man is he?

My comments:

The sore loser is a man (or woman, if you will) who doesn’t take defeat well. He wins a game and that’s alright. No problem. He’s happy and cheerful. He wins all the time and that’s fine, too. He loses one and oh, oh, big problem. He is upset. He grumbles, complains, looks for excuses, gets angry (kicking at the door, throwing a table, etc.). Or he can’t go to sleep at night, and so on and so forth. He just can’t keep it together when he loses. In other words, he loses his composure, or in colloquialism, his cool.

In short, he becomes and stays “sore”.

Painful, that is.

The sore loser, still in other words, is a “bad loser”, a man (or woman, if you insist) who can’t deal with losing properly – taking it badly.

Put in another way, the bad loser is not a, well, good loser. The good loser is one to remains gracious in defeat. The good loser, say, congratulates the winner for doing a good job instead of indulging himself in self pity or whining about his “bad luck” or badmouthing judges etc. Tony Parker, for example, is a good loser. Parker is a French basketball player playing for the San Antonio Spurs of the NBA. He had this to say after his team was swept 4-0 (beaten four straight times, that is, in a best-of-seven series) by archrivals Phoenix Suns, led by Canadian Steve Nash (AP, May 10, 2010):

“Obviously I’m very sad and very mad that we lost, but at the same time I’m happy for Nash and (Amare) Stoudemire. Because every year they played hard against us and it never went their way. This year, it went their way.”

You see, in bitter defeat, Parker remembers to give credit to and be happy for his opponents.

The sore loser, on the other hand, won’t be able to do any of this. Another basketball player, LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers, for example, is a bad loser. Last year, after his team was eliminated by Orlando Magic, King James, for all his talents and greatness, stomped angrily off the court without shaking hands with Magic players.

There are more examples of bad or sore losers of course, a lot of them worse than James. And there are other good losers than Parker as well. But here we are more concerned with the meaning of the terms than the particulars about the behavioral traits of these losers. And I hope by now you’ve got a general idea of what manner of man (or woman, lest we forget) a sore loser is.

Alright, here are two examples from recent media:

1. Rafael Benítez has defended Arsène Wenger against criticism he is a sore loser and claimed the Arsenal manager would not have achieved so much success without finding defeat unacceptable.

Adapting the Vince Lombardi line of “Show me a good loser, and I’ll show you a loser”, the Liverpool manager, who has warned his side to expect a backlash from Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium tonight, insists Wenger has every right to protect his team following damaging defeats to Manchester United and Chelsea.

The Arsenal manager was branded an ungracious loser by the former Manchester City manager Mark Hughes following his side’s Carling Cup exit in December and was accused by Michael Ballack of making excuses for Sunday’s 2-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge, although Wenger has since blamed the media for that spat. Benítez, however, believes Wenger’s behaviour is simply the mark of a fine manager. He said: “I don’t know too many good managers who are good losers. You cannot be a good manager if you are happy to lose; you have to work hard and you have to defend yourself if necessary. I think he has experience, he has his own personality and he is a very good manager.”

- Arsène Wenger is not a sore loser, says supportive Rafael Benítez, The Guardian, February 10, 2010.

2. Evgeni Plushenko is such a whining little loser. One of the best skaters in the world came out of retirement after three years away from the sport and won a silver medal in yesterday’s figure skating final at the 2010 Winter Olympics.

But that apparently was not enough. While most people would have been over the moon with second place at the Olympic Games, Plushenko was critical of the scoring and dismissive of winner Evan Lysacek’s achievements.

Instead of being proud of a silver medal, Plushenko instead decided to fire a number of barbs at the champion, mainly surrounding his decision not to incorporate a quadruple jump into his free skate program...

Here are a selection of the quotes from international media outlets:

• “I was positive I won,” Plushenko said through an interpreter. “I suppose Evan needs a medal more than I do. Maybe it’s because I already have one.”

• “Without quadruples, I don’t know; sorry, but it’s not men,” Plushenko said after his short program. “It’s not men’s figure skating.”

• “I was sure I had won my second Olympic Games, but this is the new system,” Plushenko said. “The quad is not valued anymore.”

• “It’s clear why the judging system was changed because the United States and Canada don’t have anyone who can do a quadruple jump,” Plushenko said.

Plushenko should be ashamed of his comments, ashamed of his attitude. He’s a sore loser who hides behind the smoke screen of a new scoring system when the reality is that he was distinctly second-best.

His international prestige is not enough to make him think he is invincible. Once a great champion, his comments come off as bitter and resentful. I thought he was better than this, but apparently not.

He’s all smiles and brashness in victory, when his overconfidence comes across as cocky. But when you're the very best in the world, I suppose you can afford to put yourself on a pedestal.

People don’t necessarily like his attitude, but they accept it as part of his champion psyche and mentality.

But when the gold medal is not around his neck, his poor attitude resonates with many spectators as spiteful. The gold medal was not around his neck last night, and in his haste to leave the arena, neither was the silver—he just couldn’t wait to get it off.

That’s not the mark of a winner. It’s the sign of a sore loser, a disappointed and frustrated athlete, who can’t be humble in defeat. It’s the sign of a man who needs to seriously consider if he’s really in the sport for all the right reasons.

- 2010 Winter Olympics: Evgeni Plushenko Sore Loser As Evan Lysacek Wins Gold, by Ash Marshall, BleacherReport.com, February 19, 2010.



About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.


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(作者张欣 中国日报网英语点津 编辑陈丹妮)