>Good Sportsmanship

May 16 2010 Published by under Uncategorized

>I was struck by the post a couple of days ago from Candid Engineer. About her "friends" reactions to her good news. Now, I'm a super-competitive person. Even so, when my friends get good news, I am genuinely happy for them. Now, to be honest, sometimes I am not 100% happy. If it is an award that I was also in the running for, it can be hard to lose. In those cases, maybe I'm only 80% happy for my friend. But I will always buy a round of beers for celebration. Because, seriously, how do you NOT be happy for your friends when something good happens for them?

In academics for sure, most of the time things don't go your way. Everyone gets papers rejected, writes grants 
that are not funded, or does experiments that don't turn out how they "should". I accept that this is how the business works. So I don't get too upset when things don't go my way and I don't think too much of myself when things work out.

I guess what I'm saying is that I agree with CE that envy is a waste of time. But I would go further. I think it is bad sportsmanship. I've played organized sports most of my life. What I learned from sports is that sometimes others are better or luckier than you. Losing sucks. But at the end of the game, you go out and shake everyone's hand. Because playing is about testing yourself. And you can't do that without the other team. So be a good winner AND a good loser.

I think the same is true in science. Pick an interesting problem and have fun. Work hard and be competitive. But be a good sport. Because really, as a community we can do better work and learn more if we are all working together. Also, it is more fun.

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