Perhaps the most important stat for a team is wins and losses. We aim to be undefeated, then to finish above .500 and then to do what we can to win a championship. These numbers directly reflect the team playing, yet are not a be-all-end-all limiting factor when it comes tournament time.
The 2016 Champion Cavaliers defeated a 73-9 Golden State as they were coming off a four-game win streak heading into the playoffs. Cleveland posted a meager 57-25 record and lost a game as they prepared to play the Pistons in the first round.
Although wins are great, sometimes other teams are more talented; losses are inevitable. People can be faster, stronger or more skilled, and one team’s “all” might not be enough facing off against them. However, sports are a combination of preparation and luck, and the gods controlling the games may be more in favor of one team over the other. That might sound crazy, but think of the Cavs and how much the win meant to LeBron James and the city of Cleveland. His and Kyrie Irving’s 40-point performances could easily be chalked up to their greatness, yet there were so many factors that went into their great comeback. Referees, injuries and emotions swayed the momentum one way or another, and, at times, the game was out of the control of the people in possession of the ball.
The same can be said for our daily lives. The weather may not be great, your schedule may be stressful or your coffee may be too hot to drink. Uncontrollables can affect our mood, yet they should not affect the way we work and carry ourselves. Just like a defeat, a bad day is inescapable, and we are bound to mess up. Yet, as Fordham’s favorite, Vince Lombardi, once said, “Success rests not only on ability, but upon commitment, loyalty, and pride.” Staying committed to the cause (whatever yours may be) is essential, and you must still hold your head high as you would on the best day of your life.
The past two weekends, Fordham Softball has only won one game out of 10 played on the road, yet we’ve learned to stay confident and work hard. We’ve learned to control what we can and not to let a team out-work us. Heading into this next weekend of play in Florida, we are looking to get the wins we earn and rely on ourselves — not on good calls, errors on the other team or feeling 100%. Even on a bad day, we are learning to play with pride for the school written on our jerseys, and not to let the losses define us.
To truly believe that adversity makes us stronger and that “God gives his toughest battles to his strongest soldiers” is essential for a happy and fulfilled life even outside of sports. Accepting tough times, deaths, breakups and even the smallest negative moments and learning from them can help us heal and unlock our potential. A life without challenges may be appealing for its ease, yet lack of experience with hardship can turn us into ignorant people as boring as Normal SpongeBob.
The rough edges, imperfections and “losses” that we’re so often scared of should be embraced, as they turn us into people with actual character and understanding. Great stories like the 2016 Cavs wouldn’t be possible or nearly as interesting without struggle.