Where Did the Phrase “It’s Not Whether You Win or Lose, But How You Play the Game” Originate?

The noble expression about how you play the game is a Greek historian’s fifth-century B.C. reference to the Olympians.

He wrote, “Tis not for Money they contend, but for Glory”.

The phrase resurfaced in 1927 when the great sportswriter Grantland Rice wrote,

“For when the great scorer comes to write against your name, He marks not that you won or lost but how you played the game.”

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

1 thought on “Where Did the Phrase “It’s Not Whether You Win or Lose, But How You Play the Game” Originate?”

  1. Jacob B. Downie (1843-1912) wrote a poem:

    We cant all play a winning game,
    Someone is sure to lose.
    Yet we can play so that our name,
    No one may dare accuse,
    That when the Master Referee
    Scores against our nane,
    It wont be whether we won or lost,
    But how we played the game

Leave a Comment