Charita Goshay: Losing is a very human, universal experience
The outgoing president claims that when he was in the second grade, he gave his music teacher a black eye.
In his book, "The Art of the Deal," he writes: "I punched my music teacher because I didn't think he knew anything about music. ... Even early on I had a tendency to stand up and make my opinions known in a forceful way."
He has since remarked, proudly, that he hasn't much changed from that surly second-grader.
You see the problem, here.
Seven is around the time when something clicks and a kid begins to fully grasp the concept of winning. After all, it's an easy equation: Winning makes you feel good, losing makes you feel rotten.
Because of this, 7 is also around the time when I stop letting children win every game and competition because learning how to lose is a necessity in order to function as an adult.
It appears that such an exercise did not occur during the president's childhood. As a result, everything, from the Emmy Awards to the Nobel Peace Prize to a lost primary, is deemed unfair or "rigged."
At some point in life, every human has tried something and failed at it.
All of us have dreams unspoken and unfulfilled.
Each of us has come up short and had wrong-turn moments that detoured our lives. Failure, by the way, feels lousy. It can be embarrassing and make you reticent. It can skew the way we see ourselves, obscuring and distorting the good we've done. Some people go through their whole lives focused on past failures, all while ignoring the opportunities found in present.
Failure is one of the universal experiences of the human condition.
In 2016, in part-and-parcel with his heretofore charmed life, bada bing, the president pulled off what historians will detail as the most seismic upset in American politics perhaps since the colonists wriggled free of King George III.
Untested and unproven in politics, he captured the highest office in the world, defying the eggheads and the experts who get paid a lot of money to write and pontificate about such things and upended political and presidential norms that have been in place for nearly 244 years.
But four years later, bada boom, the majority of Americans have decided they wish to go in another direction.
Despite the best efforts by his supporters, this appears to be the first time in his life that the president has been handed a failure that can't be "fixed," remedied or bent to his will.
As a result, the second-grader has re-emerged to give America a shiner.
The idea of losing is so horrendous, is so unthinkably abhorrent that the president is throwing all kinds of lies, chaos, threats and dead-end lawsuits against the wall in the hope that something will stick. Supporters who are convinced that the results are indeed false can't seem to explain why the Democrats would rig it to elect Joe Biden, but not rig it to capture the Senate, which Biden will need in order to get anything done.
Not even the Democrats are that inept. To borrow from President John Adams, math is a stubborn thing.
It certainly isn't the first time a presidential election has been bitterly contested. Back in 2000, after a protracted fight that ended when the Supreme Court ordered that a recount of ballots in Florida be halted, Vice President Al Gore, who lost by less than 600 votes, stood down, saying:
"Let there be no doubt, while I strongly disagree with the court's decision, I accept it. I accept the finality of this outcome which will be ratified next Monday in the Electoral College. And tonight, for the sake of our unity as a people and the strength of our democracy, I offer my concession. I also accept my responsibility, which I will discharge unconditionally, to honor the new president-elect and do everything possible to help him bring Americans together in fulfillment of the great vision that our Declaration of Independence defines and that our Constitution affirms and defends."
Once you're imbued with power, it can be easy to forget that leadership is really servanthood. Our shared history is replete with people who put the nation's best interest ahead of their own because to do anything else would have been selfish, detrimental and short-sighted.
Nowhere is the concept of losing and winning more clear than in sports. It's said that the president often takes liberties when golfing because, even though he's a good golfer, he can't stand the idea of losing.
But golf speaks to one's character because a player is trusted to record their own score. Bill Clinton, for instance, is infamous for taking more mulligans than can be found in an Irish phone book.
Some of the best athletes we've ever seen include those who never won a championship. It doesn't make them any less great. The president, who played baseball in high school, recalled that seeing his name listed in the newspaper stats was his first taste of "fame." This summer, it was clear that one of his few moments of pure unadulterated joy in office was when he played catch with former New York Yankees star Mariano Rivera on the lawn at the White House.
If anyone should understand the mathematics of failure, it's a person who played a sport in which three hits out of 10 attempts are considered better than average.
Think about that. Ted Williams, of the Boston Red Sox, is the last player to average four hits out of 10 turns, and he's still treated like a god, though statistically, he failed far more times than he succeeded.
The president seems to have forgotten that on any given day, no matter how many walk-offs and home-run trots, no matter how often you hit the curve, there are moments in life when you just strike out.
Reach Charita Goshay at 330-580-8313 or firstname.lastname@example.org.