Despite having a very limited exposure to organized sport like activities I did not miss out on numerous opportunities to not win ribbons/medals/trophies/certificates of achievement. Elementary school did a bang-up job teaching me to be a gracious loser when it came to track & field day, multiplication tables, rope climbing, badminton tournaments, and spelling bees. This is not to say I wasn't disappointed when I didn't win, I was (and often), but I learned that it sometimes doesn't matter how hard you try or how badly you want something - you might not get it.
I also learned that although you might have your best badminton game ever - someone else will have a better one and I will not get to take that recycled tennis trophy home even after I bragged to the whole neighborhood that it was mine. (gracious winning came later)
I spend a lot of time in youth sports these days and I'm saddened to find that many young athletes are missing out on the important lessons I learned in losing. Not everyone is a winner all of the time, not everyone is getting a ribbon, not everyone is walking away happy. I think we've lost something in those losing lessons... maybe most importantly how to recover when things don't go your way.