Why Men Hate to Lose and Live to Win
photo by Christiano Betta
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There are few things more Canadian than watching junior hockey with your son.  My son and I were watching our Vancouver Giants take on the Tri-City Americans, a team on a hot streak.  I warned my son, “It is going to be a tough game.”  Most of the action was at the other end of the rink, perhaps it was better that way.  It wasn’t pretty.  At my announcement of yet another Tri-City goal, my son teared up.  By that time our team was down by 10 and getting destroyed.  This was his first encounter with his team losing.  It was a harsh reality to face.

Why do men hate to lose?  Why do we get in a frenzy when our team isn’t on top?  Why do we live to win?

On the surface it may look like a feeding frenzy for male dominance.  It is certainly part of the explanation.  Men fight to be number one, the top dog.  We hate being conquered and find it humiliating when we are.  We revel in a victory with friends and enjoy the good times.

Why Men Hate to Lose

If we dig deeper, we discover there are deeper motivations that under-gird our hate for loss.  We are fearful that our name may be forgotten or replaced.  We are afraid of being remembered as mediocre or average.  Loss reminds us of our mortality and our weakness.  A reminder we don’t measure up.  Our strength is limited, the glory we can muster short lived.  We are aware of how quickly the win wears off, how quickly we can be replaced.  The many losses we endure make the wins all the more pleasurable, but they are rare and fleeting.  Perhaps we men have the condition called “athazagoraphobia”:  An irrational fear of forgetting, being forgotten or ignored, or replaced.

Why Men Live to Win

It seems that our male ego is hard wired for winning.  In every realm of life.  Whether we are a fan watching professional competition, playing in a sports league or playing video games.  We want to be winners or at least associated with them.  We are addicted to its glory and elation and we want it to be ours.

We want immortality.  We want to be remembered.  We want to matter.  We know too well the harsh brevity of life, but we want to be immortalized. We want a reputation that will be remembered. Victory is the closest to eternity that our hearts can grasp.

Our souls long for immortality, for enduring glory and respect.  We often rest in our accomplishments and our athletic prowess to bring us to these heights.  But they can only deliver a certain amount.  It is not enough.  Our cravings are much bigger and our need for glory is much more grand.  In fact, perhaps you could say our craving for respect and immortality is infinite.  And no created thing or human endeavor or accomplishment is able to fill it fully and with endurance.

Where do we turn to fulfill our need for a glory that endures and victory that is assured and lasting?

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