I refereed local soccer games for years. I played in the West Hartford Women’s Soccer League for years. Calls don’t always go your way. They sometimes even cost you a game. You can cry all you want, but life doesn’t always bring you roses, as they say. Wrap up your battered toes, grouse with your teammates, stew, and then get out and practice for the next game.
The recent ransacking of the Capitol by hordes of Angry Trump supporters shows that being a sore loser can have bad consequences. It reminds me of the 1994 execution of Andres Escobar, the Colombian player who scored a goal for the United States during the World Cup. He had barely settled in at home after the match when a group of gunmen shot him, saying, “Thanks for the auto-goal!” ( Translation, Wikipedia. Kind of doesn’t sound like the thing an English speaker would say while shooting a World Cup Team defender.)
And there are uncounted numbers of referees who have been shot or otherwise disposed of by irate losers. One bad call can send an unstable fan right over the edge.
But Trump didn’t blame his loss on a referee who blew a call. He blamed it on the elections, the bedrock of our democracy. He brought his grievances to courts, something like ninety lawsuits, and all were rejected for lack of substantiation. He begged the election officials to break the law in order to pull votes out of the air. He egged on the Vice President to upend the constitution during a ceremonial verification of the electoral votes.
And as if that wasn’t enough, he convinced thousands of very nice people that maybe they should be sore losers, too. If Democracy makes it so you lose an election, well maybe Democracy should be shot.
And so on January 6, 2021, that’s exactly what some people tried to do. They tried to upend democracy. Now many will have to spend big bucks defending themselves in court. Many will end up in jail or prison.
Sometimes life is unfair.