Friday, October 15, 2010

Racing vs Fun

Some of the comments to my recent posts about how I had only managed to sail half the races in the recent Laser Masters World Championships on account of my general unfitness and overall wimpiness, not to mention also being a crap sailor, were of the general sentiment, "it's not about winning... sailing is meant to be about having fun."

I don't know whether these people have read my blog for very long because, if they had, they would have noticed that I rarely ever win. I wasn't ticked off that I didn't win my division at the Masters Worlds. I never had any prospect of winning. I was ticked off that I didn't have as much fun as I usually do. On the first day I capsized a lot in the first race and was too exhausted to do the second race. In the middle of the week I got sick and missed three races. And on the final day, in spite of a good first race, I was just mentally too tired to do the final race. I was not having fun because I was missing too many races, not because I wasn't winning.

For me, racing is fun. (Usually.) I ought to write a post called Ten Reasons Why Sailboat Racing is Fun. I don't need to win to have fun. I think my feeling on the rare occasion when I win a regatta must be a bit like the one a golfer has when he scores a hole in one. He might have given himself a chance to do it. But he didn't expect to do it. He wouldn't have been disappointed if he didn't do it. He's mightily surprised that he did do it. And he's so happy that he did do it that he buys everyone a drink in the bar afterwards.

If the only way to have fun when racing were to win, then most of us would be miserable most of the time we are racing. Statistically most of us are not going to win most of the time. If we didn't have fun not winning, then we would soon give up.

A very wise man called Stuart Walker once wrote, "Winning is the object of the game, but it is not the object of playing the game."

Think about it.

Play the game.

Have fun.


Anonymous said...

I told my son once when he was a wee Opti sailor that if he was not having fun it was OK to come in - even if we had just traveled 500 miles for the regatta. I later years he went on to qualify for the Smythe.

Also, my dear wife has decreed a rule in our household that if I come back from the Saturday fleet races in a bad mood - then I can't go sailing the next Saturday. She says if I am going to so much trouble and don't have fun - then what is the point.

Antolin said...

Timonel, in my laser level I am way down there so for me it is racing for fun. Oh, do not get me wrong, I want to win, I want to finish with the top sailors but...I do realize that I am not there yet and I enjoy sailing the best that I can no matter my trying I learn and appreciate those fleeting glory moments..My results in the local fleet have improved a touch and will continue to improve...will I ever beat Buzzy?...perhaps not just yet ha ha ha but I will continue to fight and close the gap. The gap by the way is measured in how much distance he puts on me in fleet racing...the last race we were both in, he won (obviously), I finished 4th but between him and me, you could fit all of pangea and squeeze australia ha ha ha On thursday nights, the gap is about 5 to 3 minutes...if I finish around 3 minutes from my mind I OWN HIM!!! ;)

This sunday I sailed my laser with a windmill buddy, we played some, then I joined the laser kids practice, got my butt kicked by the kids and when the kids went n, I stayed out on the laser until after sundown...the sunset was fantastic, dusk sailing rocks...I was not racing now...I was just having FUN!!

Hang in there babe...

be well

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Pat said... had a snarky poster showing a bunch of runners with a caption about everyone except the first-place finisher being a loser.

But that's a pretty darn negative view of things.

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