The mass-production of losers



We could be victorious

Once again victorious

One last time victorious

Never again victorious

- Victorious, The Perishers

According to the Norwegian sport sociologist Jan-Ove Tangen, the symbolically generalized medium, i.e. the core rationale of a social system (according to Niklas Luhmann), in sport, is (the inauguration of) the victor. Everything in a sports event boils down to this. The not yet known, although anticipated, winner in an athletic contest is the pivot around which the sport event unfolds.

But, to quote ‘the boss’, what about ‘the wrong side of that line’, what about the losers? On the
dark side of the moon losers regroup in ever increasing numbers. The loser isn’t even correctly named: how could one lose what one never had? Sport as a social system might be mediated through the victor, but the lion’s share of what is produced in it is that vast amount of losers. Sport is nothing other than a mass-production of losers.

A worthy mission, for sure, would be to aestheticize losing, to press away the poison and to extract the honey. One of the first things that appears as urgent is ruling out the element of shame that's connected to loss.

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