The IF Project – Day 11: Risk it all

“If you can make one heap of all your winnings and risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, and lose, and start again at your beginnings and never breathe a word about your loss…”

Damn, Kipling… really?

We’ve countless movie scenes where these things happen, the protagonist puts it all in… sometimes there is a twist and they lose, but the formula will repeat and almost always the outcome is in their favor the next go round.

We don’t need to really know what “pitch-as-toss” is, from the reading we get it, it is some form of gambling. But I just had to look up the game “pitch-and-toss” to see what exactly this gamble was about. “Pitch-and-toss” is a game in which the player who manages to throw a coin closest to a specific mark gets to toss all the coins, winning those that land with the head up – or so says Google.

If you have ever risked, ever competed, ever played a game, ever put yourself out there, on the line: you’ve lost at some point.

The verse seems to encourage us to look at the opposite expression to contrast this noble response: The sore loser. The one who bitches all the time about their loss and doesn’t let it go. The one that can’t move on.

We don’t want to be like him.

And it takes a degree of strength, resolve, acceptance, humility and maturity to take the loss in such a positive manner. He isn’t breathing a word of it out of shame, rather, it is the learning of the lesson; the internalizing of the experience that he is respecting and drawing from. For the next go round.

This also reminds me of Bukowski’s “Roll the Dice”.

(If you are going to try)
go all the way.

it could mean not eating for 3 or 4 days.
it could mean freezing on a
park bench.
it could mean jail,
it could mean derision,
isolation is the gift,
all the others are a test of your
of how much you really want to

do it.
and you’ll do it
despite rejection and the worst odds
and it will be better than
anything else
you can imagine.

Read the whole thing again.

Go all the way.

Make a heap of all your winnings and risk it.

If you lose, you lose.

Accept it, you understood the rules of the game. The risk and the reward.

It is better than being, as Theodore Roosevelt put it, one of those “cold and timid souls who have never known victory nor defeat”.

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