"Winning isn't everything, but losing is nothing" (1971)

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at RCI.RUTGERS.EDU
Tue Dec 28 08:43:07 UTC 2004

On Tue, 28 Dec 2004 01:36:57 EST, Bapopik at AOL.COM wrote:

>"For the Jets, winning isn't everything, but losing stinks," said a NY
>television sports anchor today.
>This ending is a little different than "winning isn't everything, it's the
>only thing." Muskie is reported as saying this in 1972 or 1973 on

The version with "it's the only thing" is often attributed to Vince
Lombardi, but there's a 1954 Washington Post article where the saying is
given by Redskins coach Joe Kuharich.  (There are also variations where
*money* isn't everything, etc.)

>4 May 1971, Oshkosh (WI) Daily Northwestern, pg. 19, col. 7:
>Campbell quoted his Jaycee motto: "Winning isn't everything, but losing
>isn't anything."

The "losing isn't anything" version was popularized in the Peanuts comic
strip.  This page quotes _The Peanuts Treasury_:

  Linus: Winning isn't everything, Charlie Brown!
  CB: Yes, but losing isn't anything!

No date given but it must have been before 1970, when a Peanuts collection
was published with the title _Winning May Not Be Everything, but Losing
Isn't Anything_ (<http://www.lib.msu.edu/comics/rri/brri/base.htm>).

--Ben Zimmer

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