Sunday 18 March 2018

There's nothing wrong with a bad loser, it's listening to a sore loser that's so painful

Europe team captain Darren Clarke. Photo: David Davies/PA
Europe team captain Darren Clarke. Photo: David Davies/PA

Eamonn Sweeney

I'm a bad loser. So are you. It's impossible not to be one. For one thing victory wouldn't be such a wonderful experience if defeat wasn't so painful. Anyone who supports a team knows what it's like to walk away from a pitch feeling utterly sickened, a sour taste in your mouth, a sinking sensation in your stomach and a feeling of resentment towards the winning supporters in your heart.

You can't blame someone for being a bad loser. It's only natural. But a sore loser is a different thing entirely. Here in West Cork when you hear someone described as being 'sore' you usually make a note to avoid their company if possible. There's an implication of bitterness and anger and complaint. You think of a guy sitting in the pub, complaining about everyone who comes in and goes out or appears on the telly. Sore is not a way you want to be.

One odd thing about the sore loser is that he tends to claim it's not the actual result which bothers him most. In this he's akin to the politician who says he doesn't mind criticism at all, but deplores its effect on his family. Or the manager who says he doesn't mind decisions going against his team, it's the lack of consistency that upsets him. In reality, it's the criticism that hurts the politician and the decisions which annoy the manager.

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