Defining success… Defining a winner.

Charlie Sheen, at times the World’s most controversial man, has recently received extended media coverage over his latest catch-phrase, “Winning!” This catch-phrase, which has gone viral thanks to numerous social media outlets, is typically used at the end of a sentence in order to signify an act of accomplishment, regardless of how trivial it may seem.

Sheen however, who in the eyes of many seems to be losing more things than winning, including jobs, money, friends and respect, believes that his current situation in life and his list of daily accomplishments is, in his opinion, winning… Strangely enough, I share his view and believe that much of society these days values and focuses on what they, in popular culture, believe success and winning to be, as opposed to what the individual values and believes success to be.

Do I agree with Sheen’s definition of winning? Probably not. However whether or not Sheen is winning in the eyes of myself and the general public is irrelevant as all that matters is that the individual is pleased with their accomplishments.

This topic got me thinking recently and it drew my thoughts back to my 16th birthday, now just 2 weeks off being a decade ago. Having been a goal-setter from an early age, usually sport related, I sat down the night after my 16th birthday and quietly wrote down my goals for the next decade. Ambitious, probably… But that’s the type of kid I was. I wrote down five, which in no particular order included;

1. Complete VCE with an ENTER score of 75.00+
2. Become a qualified Physical Education teacher
3. Win a 1st XI cricket premiership
4. Play a season of cricket in the UK
5. Secure full-time work which I enjoy

10 years have now passed and I have only achieved one of those five goals. From an achievement perspective, having completed just 20% of what I had hoped for would be considered a failure to many people and in some circumstances, such as the disaster that was Year 12, rightly so. I however share a different view in that although many goals have not, and may well never be achieved, this has occurred due to the ever-changing circumstances in life.

It’s probably about now when you’re left wondering what this opinionative piece is doing on a sports-based website… Let me explain.

Success, in sport more so than any other facet of life is often defined by nothing more than by who wins and who loses. Two happenings in the AFL over the weekend highlighted societies, or at least the media’s lack of understanding towards success and winning.

The first event which has received harsh criticism was the Gold Coast Suns 11-goal loss to Geelong and the claims from various media outlets that Gary Ablett Jr. may well be regretting his move up North… Excuse me?

For those who have been living under a rock, Gary Ablett, a player who achieved almost everything one man could hope to achieve in Australian Rules Football, left Geelong at the end of the 2010 season in search of a new challenge. After two Premierships, a Brownlow Medal and numerous other awards, the opportunity to develop himself personally, improve leadership skills and simply experience football outside his comfort zone were all overlooked as claims of greed and disloyalty were rife throughout the daily news services. It’s more than likely Ablett was aware that the Gold Coast Suns would struggle to win many games this season, and for journalists to report that he may be regretting the switch purely based on a handful of losses is complete and utter garbage. Furthermore, it’s columnists like this who should not be able to influence the minds of society. The value that Ablett is getting both as an ordinary person and as a footballer is invaluable, not to mention the confidence a champion like Ablett installs into a group of young stars like the Gold Coast.

The second incident this weekend and subsequent media-backlash was that of Richmond’s unexpected 15-point loss to Port Adelaide at TIO Stadium in Darwin on Saturday night. Once again, the increasingly savage Melbourne media has jumped on this story and the Tigers, who have improved greatly this season, are also assumed to be regretting their decision to move a home game from the MCG to Darwin.

Incorrect, here are the facts.

Richmond’s current financial position means that they desperately need the $500,000 received by playing in Darwin and in addition to this, a game in the “Top End” also helps promote the new Indigenous Institute at Punt Road Oval, which is heavily funded by the Government. Furthermore, the money received from the match in Darwin directly contributes to the football department spend which has a positive effect on results. This money also contributes to recruiting department spend and of course the medical department spend. This too has a positive effect on results.

For the media to claim the Tigers cost themselves four points because they decided to take advantage of an opportunity that Darwin presents shows complete ignorance. Yes, the Tigers may well finish ninth and many in the media (and probably some of their supporters as well) will blame the Round 10 loss to Port Adelaide. The truth is however, that those who matter understand the importance of these funds in the Clubs long-term vision and they also realise that when Richmond do make the finals, whether it be this year or next, the money raised from such an event would have played a massive role, despite the Round 10 loss in 2011.

In summary, whether it’s Charlie Sheen, myself, Gary Ablett or the Richmond Football Club, nobody has the right to question someone’s motives and make assumptions about apparent regrets and a lack of success, unless they know, without a doubt, what the individuals and/or organisations goals were to begin with. Unfortunately, until the popular views of society change, our sporting icons will forever be accused of losing, failure and a lack of success, when in reality they could be achieving something they’ve been working towards all along.



4 responses to “Defining success… Defining a winner.

  1. Well put shags!

  2. Mick Armstrong

    I snagged all 5 of those goals mate…

  3. Dustin Archer

    Good piece squire!

  4. Andrew Wheatland

    Great that you had a list of goals in high school. I didn’t, and I think it’s hindered me. in the last 2 years I have gone through and made some goals, and am slowly working on them. Maybe I’m a late bloomer? Great article, I really enjoyed.

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