Saturday, 16 December 2006

"He is Going to Lose, and Lose Big"

...was, I believe, a comment by John Major, that well known professor of language, during the first Gulf War in 1991.

Given today's performance by England, it does raise the issue of the best way to lose. Losing narrowly is a false dawn: you lost, but you think you could have won, should have, nearly did: damn it you did win, except for luck/umpiring decisions/unjust rules/the weather/the will of God. To lose narrowly is to assume, at some level of self delusion, that you won.

In Australia's case,this belief has hardened into a granite will actually to win, this time.

In Germany's case, in a slightly different context, the belief that "actually, we didn't lose. If you look at it, we've just agreed to a cessation of hostilities" - caused or helped to cause all sorts of problems.

England have a different view. They are going to lose, and lose in considerable style. This is how it goes.

1) Media talk: we're a good side/good players/but we need to bat down to 8/can't risk Monty/Chris Read is a pain in the arse and Geraint Jones is a good egg.

2) Opening salvo: first ball of series to 2nd slip. Do not pass bat, do not take edge, lose match.

3) Get into excellent positions: 551-6d, or Aus 244 all out.

4) Relinquish control in spectacular fashion - Gilchrist near record 100, incredible collapses, etc.

5) Lose.

6) Mutter about had x,y,z been different, we _might_ have won (but - and this is the crucial difference - not to really believe it. Hence no real changes are made, nothing done, nothing happens, no-one cares).

7) forget.

8) Next time around, start all over again.


To lose big is a state of mind, as well as a state of play. It is real, and psychological. It's a symbiotic thing. Each feeds the other. Technique problems feed the mental problems, the mental issues destroy the technique. Look at G Jones. It gives the enemy or the opposition not only the thrill of victory but the glory of humiliation; it rehabilitates their faded stars and ancient glory, it is talked about for years but not really remembered in any real sense.

Losing big is where you are, at the conclusionary phase of the planetary rotation.
We all lose big in the end, so let's get used to it. Winning is overrated anyway.

3 comments:

james higham said...

As depressing as it seems, I think perhaps you are right and yet they have the talent to do itif they want. They were psyched out, that's all.

Andrew Allison. A Conservative View said...

A pretty good day for England today though. Good to see Cook scoring a maiden ashes century. Unfortunately, it is too little, too late. Hopefully in two years time some Aussie players will have retired and their replacements will not be as good. We can only live in hope.

The Tin Drummer said...

Yes England did okay today. But it's "nearly but not quite" again. It's typical England to lose those wickets at the end of the day. I think you're right, Andrew: we'll win the Ashes back in 2009 with a youngish and vigorous side, but today we're just disappointing with a pretty good side.