Can’t al­ways win sil­ver

The Compass - - SPORTS - Ni­cholas Mercer is a reporter/ pho­tog­ra­pher with The Com­pass. He lives in Bay Roberts and can be reached at nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca.

I’d like to ad­dress some­thing that re­ally grinds my gears. It’s some­thing that has been a prob­lem for me ever since I started on this trip into sports me­dia.

And, it is rather sim­ple and maybe I’m be­ing too much of a stick­ler but here goes. My prob­lem is this: Ev­ery time there is a tour­na­ment, so­cial me­dia is flooded with con­grat­u­la­tions for ev­ery team in­volved. That’s great. Ev­ery team de­serves recog­ni­tion for play­ing the game hard and do­ing their best to get a vic­tory.

Whether you fin­ish first, sec­ond, third of 15th, it’s all great and de­servedly so.

I ap­plaud that ac­tu­ally. What I don’t ap­plaud is this non­sense about win­ning sil­ver. Be­ing awarded a sil­ver medal is fan­tas­tic, I just have a prob­lem with telling ath­letes they’ve won a sil­ver medal, be­cause that’s not the truth.

In team sports, it is im­pos­si­ble to win a sil­ver medal.

You have to take a loss in or­der to get a sil­ver show­ing. There is no win­ning, no ticker tape pa­rade for sec­ond place. It’s just the truth.

No one looks at the loser of the World Se­ries and says, ‘con­grat­u­la­tions, you’ve won sec­ond place.’

Now, I re­al­ize this doesn’t ap­ply to all sports. There are cer­tain in­di­vid­ual sports where you do, in fact, win a sil­ver medal. Track and field for in­stance.

If you’re a sprinter and you get beat by the top guy, but in turn beat the third place guy, you’ve won a sil­ver medal. Get a bet­ter score in the high jump than the third place ath­lete? Guess what, you’ve won sil­ver. Same thing ap­plies to swim­ming or div­ing or auto rac­ing or eques­trian events — get the point?

This non­sense about win­ning the sil­ver is baloney.

In team sports, sil­ver is some­thing you lose. Sim­ple as that.

I’d like to know where this idea started. Does any­body know?

Who was the first per­son to start say­ing you’ve won the sil­ver medal in re­gards to team sports?

Who­ever it was needs to be ex­am­ined by a physi­cian. I get the idea be­hind it.

You’re try­ing to sooth the feel­ings of the young ath­letes. Try­ing to help them get over the pain of de­feat.

“You just won a sil­ver medal, Johnny. That’s great.”

Johnny smiles meekly, but he’s re­ally think­ing, ‘We had to lose to get this.’

You know why los­ing in the cham­pi­onship game hurts so much?

It’s be­cause the sec­ond place medal is some­thing you get for fall­ing in the big game.

Just like there’s no cry­ing in base­ball, there is no win­ning the sil­ver medal.

Truth be told, I’d rather win the third place game. At least you’ve won a medal then.

Who was the first per­son to start say­ing you’ve won the sil­ver medal in re­gards to team sports? Who­ever it was needs to be ex­am­ined by a physi­cian.

Ni­cholas Mercer

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