November 17, 2008
By Coleen Valdez, Caloocan, ZZ

Back when I was eight, playing the “Gameboy” was something I couldn’t do away with. I would mercilessly afflict my mother’s vocal chords and rub her on the wrong way by paying no heed whenever she called my attention. I would spend countless hours just trying to put a final, conquering touch to the gory fight I put up in Street Fighter. I was eager to level up, to win, to finish the game that I didn’t even get to mull over what was happening—who punched and kicked the hardest, assaulted the fiercest, fought the best and the like. I was like gorging myself on food without even chewing it up.

GAME OVER—words I would throw a wobbly the instant they appeared on screen. It meant I lost the game. But it appeared, and I burst into tears. Don’t cry over split milk, I told myself.

Though it was pretty much tough for someone as young and idealistic as I was then to accept that I was just not up to snuff, I admitted that I had not exerted much of my effort to crush my opponent into shreds. Yes, I lost a petty fight that meant a lot to the little girl I was.

Much to my surprise, my momentary defeat would give me a lesson of a lifetime. That’s when I first learned to value the word “continue.” When the computer asked if I wanted to continue, I pressed ok. Then I realized that when your best shot doesn’t turn out to be the best after all, it’s always a ‘must’ to rest awhile and then carry on. I set the gadget aside, took a very rejuvenating bath, catnapped, and then gave it another try.

I knew eventually that crying would only make things worse and wouldn’t even fix an inch of the problem that protracted in my mind. Instead, I started again, and again, then again until I won.

Winning is not everything, it’s just a thing. Yes, just a thing—craze, obsession or mania. It’s just like a crowd people die to follow. In the end, though, who they find are themselves who are lost and wandering in it.

Who will not come to blows to get a taste of sweet victory—the ecstasy of reveling in the glare of publicity, the overwhelming feeling of being lionized by all and sundry, and the unparalleled fulfillment of proving oneself? Certainly, nobody won’t.

But what is really there to winning apart from title, flimsy medals and easily scrunched up papers? Nothing more. Perhaps, you’d be getting all the attention you’ve been pining for, but that doesn’t give you the real fulfillment. To a certain extent, you might want to be all the rage indefinitely that you know not how to live life normally any longer. Life beset with fame is a life stuck in sludge. Losing is just as fulfilling as winning is. When you lose, you learn to win yourself and your esteem back and when you win, you learn to lose the pride that filtered through your being.

“When you know you’re good, there’s nothing to cry about,” my friend would always tell me. I’ve lost quite a lot of fights already. Trust me, until now it bleeds dry all of my self-esteem. I always languish in gloom whenever I don’t win. But I’ve come to realize that losing doesn’t make me less of who I am, less of a writer, less of a person. Instead, it gives me a chance to improve myself.

Truly, defeat is heartrending. But you can’t possibly stay in the thought of it. It’s over and you didn’t make it. The best thing to do is to move forward so that you can leap at the opportunities that lie ahead. Winning takes a lot of sweating, and it’s more fulfilling when your way to it is plagued by defeats.

Win to prove and lose to improve.

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