Play’s the thing
Heading into the week of Jan. 8, all of Wiscasset’s high school basketball teams, varsity and junior varsity, boys and girls, were still looking for their first wins. And some of the margins they’ve lost by have been wide.
There are worse things in high school sports than a zero in the win column, like not having a team or racking up wins by minimizing some members’ playing time. Some of the best stories of sport, fact or fiction, have featured the underdog. From “Rudy” to “Rocky” and “The Bad News Bears” to “Seabiscuit,” it wasn't really about the win or near win, it was the journey – what each athlete, coach or parent experienced and what they contributed to one another’s lives.
Run safely and with good sportsmanship, sports are a positive way for the players to spend those hours, in competition and practice. When I bowled tenpins from age 10 into adulthood, I didn't like to lose. And although the memories of winning or placing are better than the ones of disappointing performances, it all was enriching, and it was a healthy and safe way to spend the after-school hours and weekends.
Sports and having sports teams to follow bring people together in person or in spirit, as the Winter Olympics will next month. And for the player and the team, every outing brings challenges and an opening to shine. From a personal best to a team’s first win, it can always be a good day.
When it turns out not to be, the players have still gotten a workout, time together and the suspense of seeing if the seven pin will fall for a strike, if the pass will be completed, or if the basketball will go whoosh in the net.
Boston University’s website at bu.edu quotes Michael Jordan: "I can accept failure. Everyone fails at something. But I can't accept not trying.”
Hopefully, the school’s teams will find some wins. If not, we can still be glad they had the season.