Rick Wamre: The tenuous line between winning and losing

Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 1.30.42 PMSometime soon, we’re going to see someone on television raising hands to the sky while jubilantly celebrating a victory, and invariably that person is going to thank a higher being for making the victory possible.

Maybe it will be at the end of the Mavericks game. Maybe it will follow a Dallas Stars victory. Maybe it will be right after another Rangers win.

But it will come. And the person doing the thanking will be thankful about the skills he or she has been given that led to the heroics that came his or her way.

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It’s just another day in paradise, after all, so we probably won’t give it much thought. It won’t be the first time we’ve heard such an exclamation, nor will it be the last.

When the camera is trained on the winners, and when the winner invariably invokes the name of God to exult in a victory, let’s not forget that someone on the other side is trudging silently (or sobbing) away, wondering why his prayers went unanswered and his pleas for victory were overridden by the Big Guy in favor of someone else.

You can argue that hard work or a superior education or simple fate are the harbingers of blessings, and that those elements determine the level of our thanks by dividing the winners from the losers. Or you can wonder at the thin, thin line between success and failure while giving thought to the eerie cries of those less fortunate, many of whom aren’t drugged-up losers or lazy SOBs.

If you believe that life is pretty much a zero-sum game, that there’s a certain amount of wealth and luck and good will in the world and that how it’s allocated and who it’s allocated to is about all that changes from time to time, then you also can believe that while each of us is giving thanks for the bounties in our lives, someone else is wondering why his table is bare and his life isn’t as full.

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You can argue that hard work or a superior education or simple fate are the harbingers of blessings, and that those elements determine the level of our thanks by dividing the winners from the losers. Or you can wonder at the thin, thin line between success and failure while giving thought to the eerie cries of those less fortunate, many of whom aren’t drugged-up losers or lazy SOBs, they’re just people born on the wrong side of the proverbial tracks who haven’t yet been blessed with the necessary guidance to find the path that leads over to the “right” side.

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Giving thanks is important, it’s valuable and it’s meaningful, and the blessings that have come our way — deserved or sought after or otherwise — are worthy of our thoughts and our praise.

But at some time or another, every winner winds up on the other end of the score, watching the other team jump up and down, fingers and eyes raised to the sky, thanking a higher being for their good fortune.

And it’s at precisely that moment in time that we find out how much we really have to be thankful for, win or lose.

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