ESPN 30 for 30 Shorts: The Shining Star of Losers Everywhere (2016)

Directed by Mickey Duzyj

Sports is all about winning, right? When we play sports, it is typically with the intention of winning. Winning is always more fun than losing and in the competitive world of sports, at any level, losing is never easy. Enter Haru Urara, translated as “Spring Blossom”. Haru Urara is a Japanese racehorse who competed 113 times. In those 113 races, Haru Urara won exactly zero times. And yet, Haru Urara became a celebrated horse in Japan for her determination and effort every time she was on the track at Kochi Racetrack, sporting her pink, Hello Kitty garb. So what exactly is it about a horse that was such a loser that captivated a whole country of supporters?

There are losers in America, like the Chicago Cubs, Cleveland Browns or, for a time, the Boston Red Sox. But do their fans support these teams because they lose? Most likely not. They support these teams for the hope of winning, among other things. The Japanese may not have family connections or nostalgic memories of Haru Urara, like they may with other sports teams, but when the story broke about a horse that had never won a race, it attracted people to it. Losing is a part of life, like it or not, and seeing someone lose so much is not an easy thing to do, and yet it is a captivating, and ultimately an extremely relateable experience.

There are times in our lives when we may win or lose without a single person knowing it, but we tried our hardest. This can be completing  a task at work, or sports related. Maybe we beat our personal record on our run this morning, or had our worst golf score that time we played on our own. Maybe we finally broke through the problem at work and solved it, and now the task is nearing its completion. Life is full of little challenges and competitions, and all we can ever do is give our very best. There is something very noble about the attempt, win or lose. As always, winning will always be more enjoyable, but losing is part of the game, and it hopefully teaches us something about ourselves, perhaps more than winning does. Haru Urara tried her hardest, every time. There is nothing shameful about that.

*** – Very Good

This should be an interesting comparison to Believeland, the latest installment of Volume III of 30 for 30.

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