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If You Lose, Are You Really a Loser?


Winners are held in high regard and loses, well…

It seems obvious – We compete to win – when you win, you get the prize. But sometimes you can win bigger by losing.


There are times to be competitive. Come on, we’ve all those moments when all we want to do is humiliate our opponent by winning (or by crushing them). It’s the nature of sports, and what our internal competition thermostats set to to do.

That is how athletes feel most of the time. But, sometimes, and these are few and far between, we see acts that defy wins and losses. When a high school basketball player intentionally misses 2 technical free throws or Western Oregon senior Sara Tucholsky being carried around the bases after she injures her knee. Opponents coming together to transcend the game.

Here’s what happened between two college golfers, fighting for a spot in the NAIA National Championship.

Grant Whybark, a sophomore at the University of St. Francis, had already earned a spot in nationals with his team, which won the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Championship. Now her he was in a playoff against Olivet Nazarene’s Seth Doran for the individual title.

Since, both the winning team and winning individual are asked to move on to nationals, if Whybark won the playoff against Doran, he’d be taking both spots and Doran wouldn’t be be going. Oh well, right? That’s sports and competition – the winner moves on, the loser goes home…

On the first playoff hole, Whybark was informed the winner would garner the conference’s individual spot for nationals. He already was going.

What happened next is the type of stuff which movies are made (remember “Rudy“?). Whybark stood on the tee on the first playoff hole, aimed right, and proceeded to hit his tee shot 40 yards off of the fairway onto the practice range, which was out of bounds. He ended up with a double bogey (2 over par for you non-golfers), Doran made par, and he is now headed the nationals.

What did Whybark do? He addressed his ball, aimed right, and proceeded to hit his tee shot 40 yards askew of the fairway onto the practice range, which was out of bounds. He would make double bogey; Doran made par and is headed to nationals.

What makes it so cool? Whybar did it on purpose, because he felt Doran had earned a spot in the next round.

“We all know Seth very well,” Whybark explains, “and he not only is a very good player, but a great person as well. He’s a senior and had never been to nationals. Somehow, it just wasn’t in my heart to try to knock him out.

“I think some people were surprised, but my team knew what I was doing and were supportive of me. I felt Seth deserved to go (to nationals) just as much as I did.

“It was one of those things where I couldn’t feel good taking something from him like this. My goal from the start was to get (to nationals) with my team. I had already done that.”

There are time when choosing the higher road, the one that will, in the bigger picture, make a bigger difference, isn’t  so easy. It’s hard – We all want to be right and we all want to win, but sometimes not winning can be the bigger win…

Putting differences aside can make a HUGE difference.

Do you agree?

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  1. Great read/blog Lennie! A good lesson to remind our children. ;o)

  2. Lennie Appelquist says:


  3. Good post Lennie.

    Randomly found this blog online and figured I would leave you a message.

    Take care.

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