Recently, a couple of friends and I entered a friendly league at a local games store. This was the first time I would ever compete against people I did not know, and so I thought this would be a good chance to flex my skills against players whose tactics I wasn’t familiar with and armies I didn’t have a lot experience competing against. No pressure, just pay your 30 dollars, have some fun, and hopefully make some new friends. I wasn’t focused on pure competition. I wasn’t expecting to win the whole bottle of wax. But I was hoping I could make a good show of it, scratch out some wins here or there, and feel good about my play at the end. One thing I did not prepare for was a losing streak. One that has challenged my typically “good sport” decorum.
It started well enough. I forced a come from behind draw with a Tyranid player in the opening game, and won the second week over a fellow Eldar combatant. And then, something happened. Suddenly, many of the same tactics I’d employed the first two weeks were resulting in dead ends. My vehicles were getting blown to smithereens far too quickly, my speed and psychic powers were rendered ineffective by savvy foes and my shooting hit a bad luck streak, a frustration that anyone reading this forum I’m sure is familiar with.
The losses started piling up. But it wasn’t just the losses; it was the way I was losing them. Every game seemed to start the same way. I would jump out to an early lead, hold it for a little over half the game, and then fold. This isn’t uncommon for the Eldar to do, I understand, but if not for the blasted 7th turn, I would have dropped at least two more of those games into the W column. I lost multiple games by only a kill point or two. I made sure that everyone else in the league recognized these facts.
Therein lies a challenge. It’s a time tested one. How to be a good loser. I know I’m not this bad at the game, I tell myself, so what’s going wrong? It’s easy to get wrapped up in your own bitterness, poor decisions, and bad luck without properly recognizing the stellar play of your opponent, which is really what being a good loser is all about. It’s curious to me that more Warhammer players aren’t also sports fans since so much of the game is so highly competitive; the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat so much a draw of the hobby.
If this losing streak has taught me anything, it’s the value of being magnanimous in defeat. It’s okay to talk with your victorious counterpart about things you might have done differently, but take a minute to recognize their good play, a move they made that greatly altered your strategy or was a clever use of their resources. It’s likely they will do the same in return. Shake hands, and come back next week ready to play. Every closer in the major leagues will tell you that in order to properly do their job, it’s important to have a short memory, and not get hung up on their hang ups. And like most things, as it is in baseball, so it is in life. So, here’s to hoping I’ll break out of this slump, and if I don’t, here’s to hoping I won’t be a huge crybaby about it.
Discuss this article in the store forums