When the England football team gets beat in a friendly the manager says it was a useful lesson on the way to the World Cup. When they get to Brazil and are knocked out in the group stages, they have learnt a lot about the players, who have gained valuable experience on the way to France 2016. When they get to France and suffer a humiliating defeat at the hands of some so-called minnow, it was part of a useful learning curve. No individual match seems to matter. Each game is a look at options for a future game, and that future never comes. Surely the healthiest way to play the game, any game, is to invest in it as much as you can.
Of course, this fetichisation of the ultimate outcome is part of Western civilization. The truth is there is no end product. Each end product is each moment. So when we get to the end of a week and say “Phew! I’m glad that’s over”, what ultimate goal do we think we are striving for? Godot’s not coming. Get it, Roy?