Earlier this week, an Indiana high school girls basketball resulted in a 107-2 score, bringing up the debate around mercy rules and just taking a loss in general.
I think we all feel for those kids, and while the game was drastic, it would still be wrong to place a ceiling because of a few rogue games.
These games happen, and they’re not going away.
For one, big wins and losses have always been a part of high school athletics. Depending on your conference and your school’s program, there’s often a huge gap between skill levels on any given night.
And that’s OK. Participating in high school athletics is about growing into an adult, and opening your eyes to wider competition. You’ll never know your limits unless you test them against the best that’s out there, so you don’t want to shield yourself with false ceilings.
And while blowouts are never fun to be a part of for either team, they’re also fairly common. On average, I’d estimate at least one out of three high school games I watch are completely one-sided. It’s only a matter of time until your team is tested.
Sure, no one likes to lose, and no one especially likes to lose big. But its a lasting lesson for each player and their team.
One of our sports correspondents has a saying that he repeats often: On any given day, 50 percent of all teams all across the county … lose.
He’s right, too (ignoring ties). A loss is inevitable, and most teams will experience as many losses as they will wins.
The difference between top-grade teams is that they learn from their mistakes, dust themselves off, and continue in a positive direction.
It’s a well-known coach’s adage, but it still holds up: “ You can learn more from your losses than from your wins.”
And it remains true. Opportunity for improvement never presents itself so clearly as with a loss, so take advantage of them.
No one’s saying it’s easy.
There’s no trick to losing gracefully; it just takes training and concentration. Your first instincts are always going to throw your hands up in frustration.
But that’s when the real leaders reveal themselves. The kids that keep their heads up, speak positively about the game and show respect are the players that have learned character, integrity and self-respect.
Those players will have plenty of opportunities down the road to use those lessons in their daily lives. And isn’t that what athletics are all about?
So when your shots bounce out, or your kick’s no good, or your rivals walk of with the trophy, just remember to keep your head up and focus on the next chance. The hard work always pays off with no exceptions.
True losses don’t come from any given day. They come from throwing in the towel and giving up.