Letter from the i editor: I’ve never lost well


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The Independent Online

I am in a minority among western males under 50, because I’ve never played Call of Duty.

In fact, I’ve never played any shoot-’em-up video game, and particularly not online against a random opponent, be they stranger or friend. Nor have I played Racing Demon, or anything Mario. I’ve been known to play a bit of Wii Tennis, though.

So, I don’t know how 46-year-old father of three Mark Bradford felt when, having spent all day (!) playing COD: Black Ops online against a 13-year-old he vaguely knew, his online protagonist was killed, and he was then taunted about said killing (you “chat” via microphones). Bradford went round to where the gloating teen was playing, and throttled him. That’s two hands around the teen’s neck. “He was baiting me,” said Bradford in court, as he admitted assault by beating. “I lost the plot.”

I’ve never lost well. At school it was rare in rugby – and only in closely fought matches. In cricket a little more frequent. We never got “slaughtered”. Today, the girls’ lacrosse and netball teams also win, usually. My youngest had never suffered a lacrosse thrashing in three years, until a really off-key recent Saturday.

A mother next to me on the chilly touchline uttered that immortal, ever-so-British line: “Oh well, I think it’s good for them to lose. Character-building.” As a life-long Leeds Utd fan, who has adopted local club Fulham as my second team, I have learnt to get used to losing – or at least, not winning. It’s not character-building, it’s bloody annoying, depressing, soul-destroying even.

The England vs Scotland loser will not regard defeat as character-building, but disastrous. But, hands clenched tightly together, I just demurred politely – after all, I have to stand next to her on chilly touchlines for four more years. Now, where’s that nunchuck?