Finding moral victories when defeat is imminent

By Robert Clinton, Sports Editor

With any competitive endeavor there is always one constant: someone will win and someone will face the agony of defeat — although, the best contestants learn from losses and use them to correct deficiencies becoming a better competitor.

Still, is second place merely the first to be labeled a loser, or (as the cliché explains) is it not about wins and losses, but ultimately how you play the game?

In competition rarely is anyone left undefeated. Around campus, coaches and players have varied yet similar approaches to taking the occasional, or regularly occurring, “L.”

Women’s sports on campus collectively dipped in win percentage across the board this past year, most notably soccer and softball. After only netting one win last fall in soccer and none this spring in softball, it is almost a necessity to find moral victories to sustain morale after each contest.

Sharonda Jones has been a part of both losing streaks for CCC. Jones was a defender on the soccer team and also plays outfield and third base for the softball team. Her last win in Comet blue was in a soccer match nearly six months ago, Oct. 7 against the College of Marin.

That amounts to a 30-game losing streak.

“It sucks most of the time. Everybody wants to do things their own way until it’s time to play like a team, but you can’t just turn on the team button. When it starts to look like things are not going to get a whole lot better it starts coming down to coaching,” Jones said.

“Sometimes teams start to expect to lose and you need the coach to pick everyone up. Everyone handles it differently. It’s frustrating — I even thought about quitting earlier this season.”

The experience is the exact opposite for champion Comet wide receiver Frank Stephens.

The freshman did not win a game in high school (St. Elizabeth in Oakland). In four years his team’s record was 0-40.

“The difference between all of the losing in high school and now is hard work,” Stephens said. “Practice is more intense, there is more attention to detail and conditioning. It feels good to be a champion now. In high school we didn’t have a lot of players, so some of the losses can be blamed on depth. But we kinda sucked.”

The highs and lows following wins and losses should be measured.

Most players are disappointed after a loss. The danger is getting stuck in a spiral of negativity, causing them to lose more confidence and raising the percentage of having future poor performances.

According to sports psychologists from Peak Performance Sports, keeping a resilient mentality is the best way to not be swayed by poor performance or loss. The athlete should focus on strengths, while remaining immersed in the present moment.

Robert Clinton is the sports editor of The Advocate. Contact him at [email protected].