->''"Someone said to me 'To you football is a matter of life or death!' and I said 'Listen, it's more important than that'."''
-->-- '''Bill Shankly'''

The characters consider losing a match to be dishonorable to the point where they'd rather die than lose. Often a byproduct of HonorBeforeReason, or the explanation a SpiritedCompetitor uses because games are SeriousBusiness.

Despite appearences this trope is ''not'' simply SecondPlaceIsForLosers taken UpToEleven:
* SPIFL refers to cases when, for instance, the one who comes in second feels crummier than the one who finished third because the second-place guy was so close to finishing first. LIWTD applies where anything other than first is unacceptable (admittedly, if it's a head-to-head matchup with only one non-winner, the only way to not win is to finish second).
* SPIFL occurs ''after'' the contest in question is run, while LIWTD usually shows up ''before'' it (whether before the end of the contest or even before it starts). Consequently, SPIFL tends to stand on its own in the story ("I finished second - this sucks"); LIWTD tends to spur further actions ("I can't finish second, so I will do this extreme action to avoid it").
* SPIFL covers cases where, objectively, the worst thing that happens to someone who finishes second is that he doesn't win. LIWTD, on the other hand, allows cases where losing entails a bad consequence beyond the match itself (e.g., dying by an opponent's sword for someone who believes it is BetterToDieThanBeKilled).


* In one ''Nike'' commercial, a high school that enjoys "a rich tradition in the sporting arena" had a pretty bad run last year. Thus, some changes were made to the faculty - hiring current pros to coach the teams ''and'' teach actual classes. "You know sucks more than training? Losing. You know what sucks more than losing?" "...Nothing?" "''Nothing.''"

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* ''Manga/{{Akagi}}'': In the beginning of the Washizu arc, Akagi is blackmailed into losing a dice game or face death, although he doesn't cave in and chooses to win.
** It doesn't sound like much, but keep in mind Akagi is doing this after ''taking a katana to the shoulder''.
* ''Anime/DragonballZ''
** Characters often have a chance to save their lives simply by breaking conventional dueling rules, but for some reason or another that is taboo.
** Goku tries to give his life to win the Cell Games. [[FromASingleCell Doesn't work, though.]]
*** To be fair with Goku, the Cell Games had [[ApocalypseHow pretty high stakes]].
*** Even before this, Goku was given a chance ''by Cell'' to eat a senzu bean healing his wounds completely. When Goku refuses, Vegeta explains why with this trope.
** Vegeta Too. Victory for him is winning alone and he dies ''twice'' because of it.
* Occurs in ''Manga/OnePiece'', most notably with Zoro:
--> ''I prefer death to defeat.''
* ''Anime/YuGiOh:''
** Winning a card game is so important that characters like Seito Kaiba will pull from their vast riches and cheat just to win.
** Taken a step further in TheAbridgedSeries, where this is referred to as a "children's card game". (Although, some would doubt this opinion, as real life adults play collectable card games even more then children, and [[http://yugioh.wikia.com/wiki/Card_Artworks:Dramatic_Rescue given the]] [[http://yugioh.wikia.com/wiki/Card_Artworks:Taunt original art]] [[http://yugioh.wikia.com/wiki/Card_Artworks:Last_Day_of_Witch on some of the]] [[http://yugioh.wikia.com/wiki/Card_Artworks:Fiend_Comedian actual cards]] [[http://yugioh.wikia.com/wiki/Card_Artworks:Dian_Keto_the_Cure_Master the game was]] [[http://yugioh.wikia.com/wiki/Card_Artworks:Offerings_to_the_Doomed likely not]] [[http://yugioh.wikia.com/wiki/Card_Artworks:Parasite_Paracide intended for kids.]]

* ''ComicBook/UsagiYojimbo'': Usagi and his OldMaster are at a swordfighting competition. Usagi is told that the important is not to win... and when asked what will happen if he doesn't, correctly replies that his master will beat him to a pulp.

* ''Film/PulpFiction'': Butch Coolidge ends up getting a hit taken out on him for refusing to take a fall in a rigged boxing match. Although this may have had less to do with pride, and more to do with him having taken the money he was paid to lose on purpose, and betting it on himself to win for a retirement-worthy payoff.
* In ''Film/{{Snatch}}'', Mickey the Traveller boxer ''will not'' take a dive, even when very explicitly and very credibly threatened with death. Subverted in two different ways. [[spoiler:First, it's not honor, he's working his own angle. And second, Bricktop's retribution for the first non-dive turns out to be more brutal than he bargained for.]]
* ''Film/VarsityBlues:'' Sam Moxon makes his son think that winning a football game takes precedence over the relationship with his troubled son.
** Taken UpToEleven with Coach Kilmer, [[VillainWithGoodPublicity who is beloved by the town]] [[spoiler: but would coerce any of his injured ''high-school'' players into taking morphine and getting back into play rather than benching them due to the injury. This even sets off the events of the story, as the star quarterback's knee was nothing but scar-tissue by the time he was actually taken to a hospital for treatment]].

[[folder:Web Video]]
* ''WebVideo/YuGiOhTheAbridgedSeries'' - "I lost a card game, I no longer have a reason to live!" The inspiration for this trope.

[[folder:Real life]]
* Every GameMaster of a tabletop gaming group probably has at least one story of a battle his players refused to retreat from no matter how many chances he gave them before the TotalPartyKill.
** The [[http://www.highprogrammer.com/alan/gaming/shadowrun/clue-files.html Shadowrun CLUE Files]] has a goodly number of (hilarious) examples.
* During UsefulNotes/WorldWarII, the Japanese army often played this deadly straight, with units regularly fighting to the literal last man rather than surrender, and committing suicide if capture was inevitable.