LSUTV Station Manager (and now, Label volunteer) Tim McGovern gives a gripping review of Netflix’s “Losers”.
In sports, you win… or lose.
Nearly everyone focuses on the result of something, not the process leading to it. It comes down to whowon the gold medal. After all, who remembers second place? History loves to remember the winners, when we should be giving time for the losers as well.
In early March, Netflix released one of its new docu-series: “Losers”. It tells the stories of various people across a multitude of sports and how they coped with the highs of victories, and the lows of defeat. And more importantly, how they felt about losing years later.
I would bet you’ve never heard of Aliy Zirkle, the three time consecutive runner-up in the infamous 1000 mile Iditarod dog sledding race across Alaska; Surya Bonaly, the figure skater who was robbed of three World Championship titles because of her race and performance style; Michael Bentt, the Heavyweight Champion of the World, who never wanted to be a boxer; and Mauro Prosperi, the ultra-runner who got lost in the Sahara Desert during the Marathon des Sables (spoiler alert, he survived).
Yet despite the incredible achievements of these incredible people, very few of them have regrets over the results that didn’t go their way.
To highlight Aliy Zirkle, the Iditarod’s most successful woman. She finished in 2ndplace at the 2012, 2013, and 2014 race. But nearly lost her life in one of the races as a drunk snowmobiler tried running her and her dogs over multiple times in the dead of night. Fortunately, neither she nor any of her canine team were seriously harmed. She said it put life in perspective; she was so wound up with winning that she didn’t truly appreciate what living life to the full really is.
Surya Bonaly, also a three time consecutive World Championship runner up in Ladies Figure Skating, says that although she was robbed of her glory due to her style and attitude, despite completing more advanced manoeuvres than her competition, she is content at being a role model for young black girls everywhere; teaching them that being your best self is worthy enough.
After receiving a knockout, and being put into an induced coma, Michael Bentt says “Getting knocked out was the best thing that ever happened to me”. It was his escape from the world of boxing that his father bullied him into taking part in. From here on, he pursued a career in Hollywood and has become a consultant on a number of boxing epics. To Bentt, winning was everything even in the first instance. He didn’t want to be there!
Mauro Prosperi was just thankful for being alive. Found 186 miles off route, this episode is worth a watch for the story alone.
All of these people have grown to accept that winners aren’t always the people that finish in 1stplace. The “Losers” don’t get the glamour, but they don’t regret not winning the biggest prizes in their profession. They embody one of my favourite quotes said by the founder of the Modern Olympic Games, Pierre de Coubertin:
“the most important thing in life is not the triumph, but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.”
Although this can be seen to be a consolation to those who aren’t happy about not winning, all of these “Losers” embrace this idea. Life itself is bigger than the competition.
Everyone in life has won and lost something. It doesn’t have to be an Olympic medal, but this new docu-series highlights the importance that even though your world seems consumed by the one prize of winning, there is more to life than victory, but it takes ‘losing’ to fully appreciate that.
Featured image by: Sofia Azcona