BOSTON (CBS) – If I sound a little hoarse, it’s because I screamed my brains out at the Red Sox game Monday night, my first postseason game ever in 49 years of ardent fandom.
As you know, the Sox came up a little short, and were swept out of the playoffs by the Indians. The better team won, and while I did hear some of the predictable grumbling on the Sports Hub on the way home, for the most part Red Sox fans appeared to be gracious losers.
There’s something to be said for the fine art of losing gracefully. Good manners are never more impressive when they’re practiced by someone who has just suffered a bitter disappointment. The series-ending handshake line in hockey, the congratulatory locker-room visit, these are all signs of respect and dignity, two things everyone claims to aspire to but too few make the effort to attain.
Over the years I’ve actually heard people complain about the courtesies that losers and winners in a political campaign extend to one another, the loser calling the winner to congratulate them, the winner waiting for the loser to give their concession before claiming victory. Somehow, this is too much for some of us to bear after a hard-fought race, but in some ways it’s the most important moment of any campaign.
Campaigns and sports events, after all, are not a matter of life and death.
For the loser to honor the winner and the winner to honor the competition is to acknowledge our common humanity, and the fact that next time the tables might be turned.
Losing gracefully is something I suspect we will not see when this super-unclassy presidential race comes to an end.
But for Red Sox fans, it should come fairly easily.
After all, we have plenty of recent experience with the other side of the story.
Listen to Jon’s commentary: