Sport gives us the purest form of triumph, with obvious winners and losers. From ancient Greece, where games and war were intermingled and physical victory was everything, through to sports-mad Australia, winning and being the best has been a universal aspiration. But in reality, it isn’t winning, or even how you play the game that matters: it’s how you fail. Everything we now know about what makes for a good life tells us that those who have the confidence to try without fear of failure and to recover from failure are those who will have notable achievements, not to mention the equilibrium necessary for successful relationships. So don’t teach your children to win, teach them to live, by teaching them how to fail.
Christos Tsiolkas is the award-winning Australian author of The Slap, Dead Europe, and Loaded. His new novel is Barracuda.