"You're a Mean One..." – On Entitlement and Why Winning Should Never Be Made More Painful Than Losing

This is the companion discussion topic for this article.

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I agree with you that players should be able to enjoy whatever tournament they enter. I would propose, that “Grinching” is more specifically entering a tournament with the express objective of preventing other players from getting an invite to “Worlds” after you yourself have already achieved that objective, and then keeping track of, and boasting about the players one has “Crushed the dreams of”. That is, in my opinion is just bad form. I’m sure this is a very small percentage of players, but I myself have read posts, and overheard players saying that exact thing. I have first hand watched, and listened to a player taunt another player after a match about the fact that they had just prevented them from getting their invite. It is very unfortunate that people behave this way. They give a bad name to all the other players, who although play when not needing CP points do so remebering the “Spirit of the Game”. Whenever one player acts in a way to purposefully hurt another player… there really is no defense for that kind of behavior. Go ahead and play, enjoy the competition, go for prizes, whatever your reason, there is so reason not to. Just please don’t be a “Grinch” about it.

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That is for sure over the top and being a poor sport. I didn’t hear about that before writing, otherwise I would have given it a mention. Thanks for bringing it up.

Some people are just total jerks. People who behave like those that Trog described are highly likely to be deeply unpleasant, with massive social issues that go way beyond Pokemon.

If a tournament is open (everything bar Worlds, basically), then the ‘entitlement’ people have is to play the game in a fun and fair environment. It’s no-one’s business to tell others that they shouldn’t play or win games.

A related phenomenon really soured me on the game this year even as I got a bit better. We pokeparents are supposed to pay our $20 and help the kicker, but we aren’t really supposed to win. The desperation and hostility at the X-1 / X-2 tables in particular is unbearable. I was asked to scoop five times at one state tournament this year. Everybody is “going for their invite” and nobody wants to play the game.

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That’s terrible.

Wanting to win is one thing, but that level of desperation is getting ridiculous. People have too much of their self-worth invested in ‘being good at Pokemon’.

I’ve never actually seen anything that you guys are describing. No one asks others to scoop because of going for a Worlds invite here in Florida (I haven’t seen it, at least). No one is “happy” when they “take away” a win from someone that would cost them top cut or their Worlds invite (take away would mean not allowing them to take back a small mistake they just made, like an Energy attachment, or something like that). From my experience everyone around here is in general good sports toward everyone, whether they are younger or older. The top players who are sitting around 450 CP play fair games with the “Poke Parents” and those who are sitting around 10 CP (like myself).

Thanks for sharing. I’m stunned that many players would have the gall to ask you to scoop; I didn’t know the practice was that prevalent. That’s awful and I hope at the least it gave you extra motivation to try and win your games.

This makes me even more frustrated that players could even fathom telling others with less Championship Points to refrain from entering the last-chance tournaments at Nationals. It’s a slap in the face. It’s like saying “Hey, thanks for providing me a bunch of wins during the season to help get me on the cusp of my Worlds invite, but on the off-chance you might beat me in this important moment, I’d rather you sit around and not partake in the opportunity to enjoy yourself this weekend.”

It doesn’t even make sense from a logical standpoint; wouldn’t they want to face more opponents with less CP rather than all opponents with lots of CP? And I mentioned this in an Underground topic, but if there is a cap on the tournament and a player near an invite is worried about not getting registered, then get in line earlier if the tournament is so desperately important to you.

I would disagree, having visited for a few events here and there, this is a grossly false generalization.

I’m “guilty” of having the invite and playing in one of the mini-Regionals at Nationals, but in the case of this event Nationals, there was incentive for anyone to play in the event in the form of the exclusive playmat.

On the larger scale, it’s definitely an issue in the game. I’ve never asked for a concession en route to my invite the past three, nor have I been asked for one. That doesn’t mean I’ve not conceded to a friend along the way once-in-awhile, but it’s not been requested.

At the moment, it’s completely legal to ask for a concession. There’s nothing concrete against it. I have no issue with someone asking for a concession, but equally so, someone who says no should not be looked down upon.

Really love your article Adam. The discussion on scoops could go for days simply because of entitlement and lack of perspective.

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I agree with KPiplup. Until they make it against the rules to ask for a concession I feel it is within a one’s rights as a player, particularly if you know your opponent has their invite already. No harm in asking right? However, it often makes your opponent feel uncomfortable if they do not agree. Reverse “Grinching”? Unless there is a rule made stating one player can not ask another for a concession, this is going to continue. I can understand the frustration of a player sitting down to a match, needing only 20 more points for their invite, and then having to play against another player who has well over the points they need for their’s already. The impression of “greed” is what upsets the first player, just as the impression of “entitlement” upsets the second.

My dad was on staff at Nationals. Trust me, it is being discussed at the highest levels. It will depend on how far the conversation goes, or to what length a concession is asked for, to potentially determine penalties for such behavior.

We, as players, need to keep the standard practice of sportsmanship alive, to keep the Spirit of the Game alive. That is our responsibility, and a good fair game is our entitlement…not the expectation that players bow to another player just so he/she can move ahead. Earn it…it’s way more gratifying.

This year after Nationals, I sat at exactly 487 CP after Nationals because I got Top8. 487 CP after Nationals for me was Limbo: I had enough that it seemed wasteful not to go for an invite, but I still needed to either win an LC or get two Top4s.

The two last LCs (or at least, this is what I thought at the time) were planned around my finals week. Traveling to them meant spending time and money on Pokémon instead of working towards my future, but I decided to do it anyway, since I would still have plenty of time left to study.

On the first LC, I was well on my way of getting 1st place. I’d beaten three people fair and square - one of them was a friend who would have scooped to me if I had not, but regardless, I felt I earned the win in that game by how the plays went.

I just needed one more win and I’d be in the clear. Just one bo1 that could save me the time of the day of going to another LC. My opponent, also 3-0, knew I was exactly this close to an invite. He knew that if I took 2nd, I would sit at 499 CP. He had little to gain: he has over a thousand CP. All he did to get to this spot in this LC, playing Virizion/Genesect, was:

  • Get a bye Round 1
  • Beat Greninja/Miltank Round 2
  • Beat Quad Dugtrio Round 3 (this card is weak to Grass btw)

Meanwhile, my Plasmatisse had gone through Garchomp/Altaria, Yveltal/Garbodor and straight Yveltal.

We sat down, and the convo pretty much went like this:
Me: "If I win, I’m done."
He: "Yeah, but if you lose, you have 499."
Me: "You wouldn’t do that to me, though, would you?"
He: “Well, I really want to get this 1st place promo, and I really prefer to win them legimitately…”

I shook my head in dusgust and played, and lost. I still ended up getting my invite through the other LC and passing all my tests, but I’m 100% sure that I saw the Grinch that day.

Mekkah you say you got top 8 at nationals, doesn’t that alone give you 500 points? Congrats btw.

This is so sad. Someone sitting at 487 hasn’t earned their invite? Where is the “spirit of the game” when a player with over 1000 cp points or even 500 puts a crappy promo above being a human being? I have heard stories like this so many times this season it makes me sick. I’m sorry I don’t bye the “You have to beat the best” to get your invite line in situations like this. This guy wasn’t asking someone to give him a pass to the top eight at Nats. It was a lousy LC. I’m disguststed by the greed of some players.

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  1. What does the path either player took to the finals have to do with anything? It’s not like either person can control their matchups.

  2. Say this event took place at the beginning of the season – would you expect an opponent to scoop to you? Why should a player let you win just because you almost have your invite?

Its not really like me to step into an argument online, but I simply don’t understand why others would expect their opponents to give them a win. In no other competition that I can think of is it acceptable to throw a match. Its just not fair to try your best in certain matches, then concede in others. To be the best you’ve got to beat the best. How do you think the best players earned their points?

I think people who hold the opinion that matches should be thrown to accommodate others have a lot of growing up to do. Nothing in this world is given out, it is earned.

Have we become so soft in the 21st century that we now expect things handed to us on a silver platter? You’re not going to learn anything that’s going to help you in the real world if you expect to be given things for free.

As Adam and others have alluded to, at no point should you be made to feel like a horrible person for beating someone. Its hard for me to grasp the mindset of those who think otherwise. Is there such thing as dignity anymore? How can you feel a sense of accomplishment when you didn’t legitimately earn a win? It blows my mind and I’m quite taken aback at this story.

I can say that I do not feel any remorse. This story has failed to touch me. It has in fact opened my eyes to the corrupt side of Pokémon and I can’t say that I desire to be a part of it.

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@Trog: I’m rather confused by this comment. In the above comments, you seem to be agreeing with Adam and then overall trend of the article, but here you almost do a complete 180, and for all intents and purposes, contradict yourself. You touched on the aspect of “reverse grinching”, yet now say you’re disgusted by those who play to win the game in such scenarios? I’m confused here bud.

Are you disgusted by the greed of the person asking for a fake win or by the noble player who plays the rules and wins fairly?

This actually bothers me quite a bit. You were mad because your opponent didn’t give you a free win? The simple fact that players want to earn an invite without actually playing the game is insane to me. I’ve been in those do or die situations before and I would always tell myself if I can’t earn it than I don’t deserve it.

If I had my way than the game would simply play out the way its supposed to play out. This isn’t really the case anymore and I understand players scooping to their close friends. I honestly do think it should be against the rules to ask for scoops. The request always comes with pressure or a story about how close they are to their invite. It really does make the other person uncomfortable from a situation they never should have been put in. If 2 friends sit down at a table and understanding between friends is there fine you can’t prevent that, but in no ways should it be directly asked for.

Last year I was one of those “grinch” players that played all season despite having the paid invite already. I heard some of the comments that players made after I took down the 1st Chicago marathon cities and than 2 more. People (a very small handful) would act like I was some kind of jerk for wanting to enjoy the marathon with my friends. Funny enough this attitude never came from the good players. When I played Jason or Kyle there was just this mutual respect and we played the game with no bitter feelings afterwards.

I play because I enjoy the game just like everybody else. I play to win because I want to be the best and constantly push myself. I just couldn’t go into a tournament with the attitude that I’ll play to win unless I play somebody going for an invite. It just goes against my competitive nature and I’m afraid would also hurt my game. I probably wouldn’t prepare the same or play as well.

The attitude you didn’t want to earn your points and just wanted something handed to you is bad.

The attitude that somebody is a bad person for not giving you something for free is worse.

What kind of lessons do you want to teach your kids some day? I will do the best to raise mine to play fair and always try their best. I’ll teach them that they aren’t entitled to anything and they need to work hard for what they want.

Ask yourself this do you think your opponent would have even bothered showing up to that tournament if he knew he had no chance of winning?

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Jay and Adam:

The reason I provided the path to the last table was to show how little the tournament actually meant in terms of prestige. My opponent made a big deal out of winning and earning the promo. He didn’t just want to have the card, he wanted to win the tournament. The thing here is that my opponent had already played double digits of LCs this season, most of them in our country (Netherlands) or in Germany/Belgium. These are not the most competitive areas. The LC I’m using as an example had maybe 10 Masters. What exactly do you prove to anyone by coming out on top in yet another one of these tournaments?

This raises the side point that these LCs probably should not be part of Worlds invites to begin with and that current invite system is flawed, both for Europe and the USA, but let’s not sidetrack to that.

The argument that he just wants to play a game since we enjoy it doesn’t exactly hold up because we would have played regardless. Not that I enjoy playing against this guy, but that aside.

I also do not just ask people to scoop to me. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever downright asked. The closest I’ve come is the way I described it, which is uncomfortably close, but generally I just expect I have to play.

So no, Adam, I do not ask people to scoop to me in the first LC of a season. Nor did I ask anyone at any of the Regionals or at Nationals. All I did was confirm that one guy wasn’t willing to let one game at one LC go for no good reason. I was 99% expecting to have to play that game and I did.

So for the sake of reiteration, I do not feel entitled to free wins. Anyone has the right to play and try to beat me. But the attitude of this particular person was so disgusting and exemplary of grinching that I felt it was worth it to bring up.