Winning and Losing

Saturday, October 3rd had been circled on my calendar for a while. It was the first weekend when all of our teams would be playing at home (with the exception of the cross country teams whom I had the pleasure of seeing at the Hyde Invitational the weekend before). With almost all the teams home, I’d be able to see our kids compete which is one of the real perks of teaching at a boarding school. Alas, the weather did not cooperate and the JV soccer games were cancelled, but we carried on with the varsity action. It turned out to be quite a day.
The two soccer games were almost exact copies of each other, with a twist. The Hyde men’s team strode out to a 4-0 lead early in the second half. I had watched the first half and was impressed with their athleticism, energy and skill. Up by 4 wasn’t enough, though, as their opponent stormed back to eventually win 5-4. It had to be heartbreaking for the players and coach to be that far ahead and then see it slip away.
The women’s team, playing at the same time, trailed by a score of 3-1 in the second half after carrying the play and leading 1-0 at half time. With the clock winding down, the women upped their intensity and level of play, and the goals started going in. With a little luck and a lot of pluck, they came back to win the game 4-3.
From there, it was off to the late starting football game. Final score: a Hyde win, 18-12. The final play: the other team’s quarterback tackled less than a foot away from the end zone, inches away from tying the game and setting up an extra point play for the win. Great effort by both teams. It really was a wonderful way to spend a rainy, cold Saturday in Maine.

And now for the best part: How will the players and coaches respond to their near wins and losses? Do they get a bit cocky over a win that could have easily been a loss? Do they pack it in after a disappointing loss that should have been a win? Do they assess their progress as athletes and as a team solely on the game result or on their commitment to improve and work their hardest? My guess is it will take a few weeks to see what the real impact of this weekend’s games truly is.