As the high school basketball playoffs begin, we encourage our readers to go out and support our local teams. You can find a schedule on page 15 in our print edition.
A few of our high schools had tough seasons this year, and will not go to the playoffs. We want to send a message of encouragement to those teams as well.
I was on some truly awful baseball and basketball teams at South Bristol School in the late ’90s.
One basketball score in particular sticks in my memory: a 99-25 loss at home.
This was in the days before the construction of the new SBS gymnasium.
The old court wasn’t big enough for a three-point line. If we did have a three-point line, it might have crossed halfcourt at the top of the key and would certainly have been out of bounds in the corners.
You might think this tiny home court would have been an advantage, but we were equally as hopeless at home as we were on the road, when we would huff and puff up and down regulation-size courts.
We won one game that year, which was one more than our baseball team won the following spring. It was the school’s last baseball team, to my knowledge. A lack of students put the team out of its misery the following year.
I have played on many teams before and since, some good and some bad, though none quite so inept as the SBS teams when I was in seventh grade. Even so, I remember those teams fondly. I don’t remember any bad feelings about our record. We had fun.
In life and in sports, one does not build character through success alone.
To lose teaches patience, perseverance, and sportsmanship. It teaches grace in defeat. It teaches humility, something we could use more of in our society.
To lose teaches loyalty. It is easy to be a teammate when your team always wins. When your team always loses, you learn a little more about your teammates.
To lose, in short, teaches many of the qualities you need to win. It also gives you an appreciation for success when you find it.
So to the members of the down-and-out squads of the 2017-2018 basketball season, keep your heads up.
There is no shame in defeat, only in how we play and how we handle defeat – or success.
To the playoff-bound, we wish you luck. We will be rooting for you!