For the youthful competitor, winning is defined as the simple process of finishing first. Black and white, you do or you don’t, nothing indeterminate or vague about it.
For the more seasoned athlete winning is often defined along broader lines. This broader definition is shared with the very young. The very young are much more concerned with participating and enjoying the participation that they are with who gained more advantage. As a coach of the very young I was often asked after the game, by my athletes, what the score of the game was. I would respond with, “We had 5 and they had 2”. I would often then get asked, “Did we win?”. When I would ask the younster why they wanted to know, the response was normally something like, “So I can tell my dad”. Winning was not their agenda, it was someone elses.
I have noticed that a large number of masters athletes have redefined winning to mean simple participation or a personal best or having the most fun possible or any number of different reasons that don’t show up on a results sheet. This broader concept of winning gives the masters athlete a freedom to perform that does not exist for the younger outcome focused athlete.
This broader perspective on what it means to win is something that we, as masters athletes, would do well to instill in our younger colleagues to help them to expand their horizons and truly realise their full potential.