A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from April 27, 2012
“If winning isn’t important, why keep score?”

"It doesn’t matter if you win or lose, but how you played the game” is a paraphrase of the poem “Alumnus Football” (1908) by the sportswriter Grantland Rice (1880-1954). Adolph Rupp (1901-1977), one of the winningest college basketball coaches in history at the University of Kentucky, often lectured that he disagreed with that sentiment—Rupp coached his players to win. “If you don’t play to win, why bother to keep score?” Rupp said in 1958.

“If the kids aren’t playing for keeps, why keep score?” appeared in print in 1951 (about the CCNY point shaving scandal), said by Long Island University basketball coach Clair Bee (1896-1983). “If winning is not important, why keep score?” has also become popular as a Star Trek “Klingon proverb.”

Another popular quotation showing the importance of winning is “Whoever said, ‘It’s not whether you win or lose that counts,’ probably lost.”


Wikipedia: Adolph Rupp
Adolph Frederick Rupp (September 2, 1901 – December 10, 1977) was one of the most successful coaches in the history of American college basketball. Rupp is ranked 5th (behind Mike Krzyzewski, Bob Knight, Jim Boeheim, and Dean Smith) in total victories by a men’s NCAA Division I college coach, winning 876 games in 41 years of coaching. Rupp is also second among all men’s college coaches in all-time winning percentage (.822), trailing only Clair Bee. Adolph F. Rupp was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on April 13, 1969.
(...)
Coaching style and philosophy
Rupp had the reputation for being arrogant and gruff, obsessed with winning games, a taskmaster, and detesting to lose. Rupp took the game of basketball very seriously, often making statements such as, “We want to win, we just have to win. Lord knows, no one wants to win more than we do.” and, “If it doesn’t matter who wins or loses, then what in the hell is that scoreboard doing up there?” and finally, “We here at the University of Kentucky do not wish to merely participate in sports. Rather, we wish to be successful in sports. Basketball without victory has little meaning.”

Wikipedia: Clair Bee
Clair Francis Bee (March 2, 1896 – May 20, 1983) was an American basketball coach, who led the team at Long Island University in Brooklyn, New York to undefeated seasons in 1936 and 1939, as well as two National Invitation Tournament titles (1939, 1941). He was born in Grafton, West Virginia.

Bee’s teams won 95 percent of their games from 1931 to 1951, including 43 in a row from 1935 to 1937. Bee holds the Division I NCAA record for highest winning percentage, winning 82.6% of the games he was head coach. Bee resigned in 1951 after several of his players were implicated in the CCNY Point Shaving Scandal. LIU shut down its athletic program shortly afterward.

Wikipedia: Grantland Rice
Grantland Rice (November 1, 1880 – July 13, 1954) was an early 20th century American sportswriter known for his elegant prose. His writing was published in newspapers around the country and broadcast on the radio.
(...)
Quotations
“For when the One Great Scorer comes
To mark against your name,
He writes - not that you won or lost -
But how you played the Game.”
(from the poem “Alumnus Football")

Klingon proverbs
If winning is not important, why keep score?
. Klingon (CSUR):    
. tlhIngan Hol: potlhbe’chugh yay qatlh pe’’eghlu’. (The Klingon way, p.135)
. Worf, Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 1, episode 15 11001001

Google News Archive
20 February 1951, Greensburg (PA) Daily Tribune, “Garden Not To Blame In Big Scandal” by Milton Richman (United Press Sports Writer), pg. 16, col. 6:
“I’d stick up for my kids. If the kids aren’t playing for keeps, why keep score?”
(Clair Bee, Long Island University basketball coach—ed.)

12 June 1958, Ogden (UT) Standard-Examiner, “‘Go Out To Win,’ Famed Coach Tells Rotarians,” pg. 13A, col. 1:
The adage “It’s not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game,” is not the philosophy of Adolph Rupp, famed University of Kentucky basketball coach.

“If you don’t play to win, why bother to keep score?” questioned the coach in an address to Ogden Rotary Club yesterday.

It is development of this will to be successful that makes athletics an important, integral part of America’s school systems.

“It should also be the philosophy of English, and history and political science professors, too,” he said.

11 January 1959, Augusta (GA) Chronicle, “We don’t play for fun,” Parade magazine, pg. 12, col. 2:
He bluntly admits he hates losing. Where other coaches talk loftily of sports as just plain fun for kids, Hennon says frankly he has only one aim—winning. “Playing just for fun is overemphasized in this country,” he says. “If it’s only for fun, why keep score?”
(L. Butler Hennon, basketball coach at Wampum High School near Pittsburgh—ed.)

11 January 1960, Dallas (TX) Morning News, sec. 2, pg. 3, col. 6:
If Winning Not Important, Why
Keep Score, and Why Play?????


10 May 1960, The Herald-Press (St. Joseph, MI), “400 Hear Rupp At Elks’ Banquet,” pg. 12, col. 1:
An audience of 400 left the St. Joseph Elks Temple Monday night with a strong impression that it does make a difference if you win or lose a game.

They had just heard Coach Adolph Rupp who declared: “I’m not one who says it doesn’t matter if you win or lose, but how you play the game. That’s a lousy philosophy.

“As long as they keep score, someone cares if you win or lose. I’m not going to take boys all over the country to play and say it doesn’t make any difference. Just go out there and have some fun. When I come to town, I come to win.”

14 August 1960, The Times-Picayune (New Orleans, LA), “How to be a winner: Star pitcher Vernon Law’s rules for success are as meaningful off the field as on,” This Week magazine, pg. 2, col. 1:
If you don’t play to win, why keep score?

3 December 1960, Delaware County Daily Times (Chester, PA), “Making Minor Sports ‘Major’” by Robert M. Aiken (Soccer Coach, Ridley Twp. High School), pg. 6, col. 2:
After all, a team should be drilled to win, regardless of its experience or its chances of doing so, for if you don’t play to win, why bother to keep score.

Google News Archive
30 August 1963, Lakeland (FL) Ledger, pg. 4, col. 2:
Winning And Losing
YOU’VE HEARD all your life that it matters not whether you win or lose but how you play the game. Now Kentucky’s basketball Coach Adolph Rupp asks: “Then why do they keep score?”

18 July 1964, Christian Science Monitor, “Every Boy Is Taught to Swim” by Ed Rumill, pg. 6:
Such signs as “If you don’t play to win, why keep score?” and “There’s no I in team,” hang from bunkhouse rafters to constantly remind boys of the importance of teamwork.

Google News Archive
23 July 1965, Lawrence (KS) Daily Journal-World, “Speaking os Sports” by Earl Morey, pg. 9, col. 1:
ADOLPH RUPP, WHO played his basketball for Phog Allen at Kansas University, but who has spent his lifetime coaching basketball at Kentucky, doesn’t go along with the old saying, “It matters not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game.”

“That philosophy has permeated the entire country,” the Baron says. “Do you mean to tell me to pack my kids from coast to coast and just tell them to have a good time?”

Rupp says he is just not built that way.

“It sounds like some philosophy that came out of Washington about 1933 (when the current farm program was begun...Rupp has a special interest here since he has livestock and farm hoildings.)

“If it ‘matters not’ then why keep score?” Adolph says.

Google News Archive
13 March 1972, Eugene (OR) Register-Guard, “Rupp wants to keep coaching” by Sam Goldaper (The New York Times), pg. 1C, col. 3:
Someone once recited to Rupp Grantland Rice’s celebrated lines: ‘When the one Great Scorer comes to write against your name, he marks not that you won or lost, but how you played the game.”

Rupp commented: ‘Well now, I just don’t know about that. If winning isn’t so important, why do they keep score?”

Google News Archive
25 April 1972, Florence Times—Tri-Cities Daily (Florence, SC), pg. 9, col. 1:
Kentucky’s Rupp Says
Scoreboard Counts, Too

By JACK HARRIS, Sports Editor
Jasper—“I’m not one of these coaches that teaches ‘It’s not whether you win or lose but how you play the game,’” remarked Adolph Rupp, the world’s winningest basketball coach, here last night while speaking at the annual Walker Junior College banquet.

“It if doesn’t matter, then why does every school have a scoreboard?” he continued. “If it doesn’t matter who wins why do 25,000 football fans follow a team 400 miles and sit in eight inches of snow to watch the game?”

The Internet Movie Database
Memorable quotes for
“Star Trek: The Next Generation” 11001001 (1988)

[Worf and a few other officers are about to play parrises squares]
Lieutenant Worf: Rest assured, Commander, we will be victorious, at whatever the cost.
Commander William T. Riker: Worf, it’s just a game, a friendly little competition. You work up a sweat, you have a few laughs, and you make new friends.
Lieutenant Worf: If winning is not important, then, Commander - why keep score?

New York (NY) Times
Free Money for the Packers
By JEFFREY GOLDFARB and AGNES T. CRANE
Published: December 7, 2011
(...)
The famed Packers coach Vince Lombardi once said that if it didn’t matter who won or lost, then why keep score?

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CitySports/Games • (0) Comments • Friday, April 27, 2012 • Permalink