Schmucks, Then and Now by
(135 Stories)

Prompted By First Time Voting

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I don’t have a voting story about me voting. Or about anyone else I know voting. But recent elections remind me of a certain part of my childhood.

My home town was home to a large, and now defunct, youth organization.

My home town was home to a large, and now defunct, youth organization. I was not in it, as I lacked certain essential skills. But I knew DOZENS of the members, and a couple of the adults who ran it. In my town, you really could not avoid this group or its members for long.

This group was part of a national and international circuit of similar groups. The groups held large competitions. Our group was nationally ranked, toured the region and country going from competition to competition, and won a fair number of them.

I soon noticed that EVERY TIME they failed to win, they claimed that they had somehow been cheated. The judges were biased, or the groups that beat them used illegal moves or equipment that no judge saw, or saw and did nothing because they were biased. Maybe bribed. But there was definitely a conspiracy to deprive them of the victory that was theirs by right. The competitions that they didn’t win were all, somehow, fixed.

This belief was present both in the kids and in the adult leadership that I knew.

Even then, raised on a “don’t be a sore loser” ethic, it seemed to me to be very poor sportsmanship, as well as a pile of ripe BS. In particular I thought that the adults were setting a very poor example with the constant whining about them being robbed.

So…anyone care to guess who they remind me of? And how these kids turned out (to the extent that I can find out) politically?

Profile photo of Dave Ventre Dave Ventre
A hyper-annuated wannabee scientist with a lovely wife and a mountain biking problem.

Tags: competition, sportsmanship, losing, winning, election
Characterizations: right on!, well written


  1. Jim Willis says:

    Nice job, Dave. I’m glad you tackled this aspect of voting. I like the “sore loser” allusion, because that’s what so much of the “stolen election” talk boils down to. Absent any evidence to support their contention, election deniers often just go with, “I know it in my heart.” Right.

  2. Laurie Levy says:

    I have wondered about the notion of sportsmanship that I always thought was part of participation. After athletic competitions, don’t the players shake hands? I watched a girls’ soccer match recently, and the kids performed the ritual. It was the parents who griped about bad calls, etc. and modeled being a sore loser for their children. Sad.

  3. Betsy Pfau says:

    Great commentary on the state of fair play and ability to accept defeat, Dave. Here is MA, there was a story on the news recently about a high school football couch who quit because of bad behavior from the PARENTS on the sidelines. The kids were fine, but the parents were screaming abuses at the poor guy, with his own family sitting in the bleachers. He finally hung up his whistle. Everyone is modeling The Former Guy’s bad behavior. Just awful!

  4. Joe Lowry says:

    A great observation about the mind set of the losing side. I was a youth soccer referee for many years, and it always amazed me the number of times that the losing side blamed the referee, not that their team played poorer than the winning team. Most often, it was the parents that complained, not the players. Most players just wanted to play.

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