Chris Graham: Winning is everything, and the only thing

312_stopthepressesFive years in the Valley League as a general manager, broadcaster and bottle washer, and our guys finally won a league championship in 2013. And it felt hollow; I cared, the guys cared, it was fun, and life otherwise went on, and it all felt empty.

Existential crisis, sure. If winning isn’t everything, the only thing, what does any of it mean? And then it started to make sense.

Winning is everything, and the only thing.

You’ve heard of evolution. Controversial theory in the South, still, somehow; Darwin, apes, that concept? Yeah, well, evolution is about winning being everything, and the only thing. The genes that propagate through the generations are those of the winners, the folks who could attract a mate, produce children, raise them to adulthood.

You want to eat? You used to have to defeat an animal; now you’ve got to beat the other guy to get the job, get the contract, get the project done. That big shiny trophy that sat on my desk for a month last summer is another example. They don’t just give out trophies that matter.

(They do tend to give out lots of trophies these days, but the bulk of them aren’t worth the material they’re fashioned from.)

And so it is that I’ve been able to right the ship, so to speak. What does it all mean? You effort at winning because that’s what you’re wired to do.

It’s just a rec league softball game? The hell it is. We’re not out here for our health. They’re keeping score, right? Just win, baby. You go for a jog. Great. Last time, you ran 4.2 miles in 50 minutes. Today you want to run 4.3 miles in 49 minutes. And you want to take on a bigger hill, maybe two.

More obvious things: applying for a new job, you want to beat all the other candidates, same when you’re bidding on a project for your company.

You want to look nice when you go out to eat. You don’t win anything for that, but that’s still competitiveness at its heart.

Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. You’re wired to want to win. It’s almost to a point in today’s America that trying too hard to win makes you too cool for school. (We’re slowly becoming France.) Which is rubbish.

Kick ass, take names, unless you’re too busy kicking ass to take names, in which case: focus!


UVA Basketball Fans!

uva basketball team of destiny
Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25. The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe, and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018 through to the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.

Dick Vitale on Team of Destiny: “This is a hoops story you will LOVE! Jerry and Chris capture the sensational and dramatic championship journey by Tony Bennett and his tenacious Cavalier team. UVA was Awesome Baby and so is this book!”

Ralph Sampson on Team of Destiny: “Jerry and Chris have lived and seen it all, even before my time. I highly recommend this book to every basketball fan across the globe. This story translates to all who know defeat and how to overcome it!”

Feedback from buyers: “Got the Book in the Mail Saturday, and could not put it down! Great read and great photography as well! Love all of the books I’ve received, but hands down, this is my favorite!” – Russell

Buy here.

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