Sunday, February 26, 2006

The "loser culture"

Sunday, February 26, the Olympic ice-hockey finals, the two arch-rivals Finland and Sweden face each other once more. Finland had been strong the whole tour, winning every game they had played, and looking as if they could go the whole way. No team had ever played every games unbeaten.

A couple of hours later, and still, no team has gone every game unbeaten.For Finns, the situation is painfully familiar. Another big game lost. Another big game against Sweden lost. It seems like whenever Finland and Sweden meet the lions just lose their roar. It's come to the point that my friends and me even expect Finland to lose. Even the Finland-Swedish commentators mentioned the "loser culture" that seems to be so prominent in Finnish hockey. I think the statistics they mentioned was that, of the last eight big finals that Finland has played, they have won one.Though to limit it to ice-hockey isn't telling the whole story. There's a long history of putting yourself down in Finland, to not expect too much. It also happens just between friends, in the form of joking stabs. It's like mutated modesty, where the goal is not only to down-play your own qualities, but to actively insult yourself.There's something called "Jante-lagen", translated as the Jante-law, of Danish/Norwegian origin, that too many seem to live by. It basically states that you shouldn't think too highly of yourself.

I'll come right out and say that I hate this kind of thinking. It's that kind of thinking that can bring a good man down, that fosters the "what-is-it-good-for" loser-attitude ingrained since birth. That's the kind of attitude that can make an otherwise good team consistantly lose big games.

So for the sake of our mental health, success of the country, and success for Finland in ice-hockey in the next Olympic games in four years: compliment yourself and your friends more often. Now if we could just learn to receive compliments without immediately negating them them...

***
Here's a guitar song my brother made. If you listen really carefully you might hear some ambient synth pad he asked me to put in.

3 comments:

Jonas said...

Actually, I think it was me who mentioned the ”loser culture”. The commentators were talking about how Sweden has won quite a few big games and have a ”winning culture”. I just turned it around.

I think the attitude you are talking about is prevalent in all Nordic countries, maybe even more so in Sweden than Finland in my opinion. Hell, we even managed to thwart off the Russians in World War 2 but we still can’t manage to win big in hockey.

Maybe we should be more like the Americans, thinking that we are the greatest and nothing can beat us. Maybe then we’d do better… Wait a minute, we beat the American team. What’s that about?

Ainu said...

I was in a restaurant (in Jyväskylä) watching the game. That's so fun because of the reactions of the crowd. Lots of swearing..

Well, I horrayed the first goal of Sweden. They looked me like I was a murderer. ;)

I'm familiar with Jante-lagen. It is SO Scandinavian.

But I think that there is something Buddhist too in the the thinking that "you shouldn't expect much".

Jacke said...

Ainu said...
"Well, I horrayed the first goal of Sweden. They looked me like I was a murderer. ;)"

Hah! That would've been fun to see! ;)