Even then I remember thinking what a load of cobblers. What’s the point of gearing up for hockey if you don’t intend to take the opposition down and take them down hard? My one and only game ended with a sending off for unnecessary roughness. Harsh, since they armed me in the first place.
The trick is to be inventive in your losing. I didn’t have a hockey stick when I was playing Monopoly, but when I had lost control of Mayfair and Park Lane I chucked the board over my wee brother and told mum there had been an earthquake.
We still revere losing, and losing well, something I’ve never managed, whether it be hockey, Monopoly, or indeed, weight. We’ve made heroes out of folk who seriously screwed it up.
Scott of the Antarctic, a man who by all accounts you wouldn’t send out for the messages on a snowy day, became a national hero because he and his entire team didn't make it back. Shackleton, a much more savvy chap, hardly mentioned. Brought everyone home, you see.
Losing well can define you. The Americans have a peculiar tradition where the defeated presidential candidate makes a concession speech. John McCain, a man who really knew a thing or two about grace under pressure, delivered such a moving speech that I bet some of the American electorate turned around and said, “What a nice guy! We should have voted for him” – then looked at his potential VP, the frankly bonkers Sarah Palin, and thought, nah, let's stick with Obama.
In politics, you always lose, eventually. Someone should have explained that to Mr Trump. As the loser, your job, once all the votes have been counted, not just the ones who voted for you, should be to thank the people who made the election work, particularly in the middle of a pandemic.
Then you should follow that up with a thoughtful address saying, well, folks, we lost, that’s the way democracy works, even if you don’t like the result. It’s just bad-tempered, sore-loser behaviour to pretend there’s been an earthquake and kick the board over.
Four years ago the same people who launched themselves at the Capitol on January 6 were sneering, hooting and crowing in victory.The atmosphere was poisonous, particularly towards the losing candidate. They wanted to lock her up, at the very least.
How she did it I do not know, but Hillary Clinton went to that inauguration. Grace under tectonic pressure.
This week, Trump bottled it. He scuttled out of town on Air Force One. Bet they’ve checked to see if any of the towels have been nicked. Hillary was never locked up. Donald might be, though.
His followers became spineless, gutless jellyfish patriots, willing to storm the Capitol, but not be arrested. Would you die for your country? Yep, but not do jail time, especially when they find out that the prisons don’t do an organic vegan option.
George Washington, who starved and froze with his revolutionary army at Valley Forge, must be laughing his wooden false teeth out.