Winning

The Olympics are amazing. I’d watch them more if I had cable. Since it’s a popular topic I would bring it up to make small talk.

I asked one lady if she was watching the Olympics. She said no and expressed that she disliked them because, the athletes compete to be best in the world. She thought that was dumb, “best in the world,” because any noob could get lucky and be “best in the world.”

I didn’t want to start an argument, or insult her (she was a nice older lady) so I dropped it.

Being a writer, though, I can rant about her to my audience.

I decided on two points in my made-up argument with her in my head.

The first, is that Olympians train like crazy. They train at their sport more than we work at our full-time job. Take swimming 100m freestyle, for example. The qualifying time for the Rio games was 48.99 seconds. You don’t get lucky and just so happen to beat that time. You train as hard as you can. I believe that most games are the same way. These athletes don’t win out of luck, they win by hard work and determination.

The second, is that winning is a percentage. Just because someone trains like crazy, doesn’t guarantee a win. There’s a chance a noob could win, albeit small. Maybe their leg cramps, or they get light-headed and swim the wrong way and the noob has time to swim to the finish. It probably won’t happen but it could.

Look at a card game. Sure you might know the game inside and out, you might even know you’re opponents inside and out, but there’s still a chance that you could lose. 

The probability exists beyond card games. In sports, fans track a players stats, based on their history of successes and failures. In basketball, a professional player makes a free throw, but there’s still a percentage that he will make it or miss it. 

When playing games, when competing, one examines the odds of winning. In poker, Texas Hold ‘Em specifically, a professional can see what the odds are their opponent has a certain hand. They then base their decisions by playing those odds. But it takes a pro to even realize what the chances are.

The Olympians, and anyone that competes in any game, find themselves at the crossroads of odds, chances, percentages and hard work and determined training. Training doesn’t guarantee a win, nothing can, but the more somone devotes time and energy to perfecting their game, the more the odds of wining increase.

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