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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

On the nature of winning (16-0)

Djurgården put together a solid effort and a 16-0 win on a wet Friday night that kept the typically sparse crowds at about forty to fifty people. Not too many in the States are used to more players on the field that in the stands. It wasn't always pretty {We don't have a lot of beauty on the team. Plenty that think they are, however.}, but they don't ask how - they ask how many. We made it plural in the good column {2-3 on the year} and any time there's singing after a game it makes for much better times, plus the good readers are saved me rationalizing a loss and discussing the negatives of losing. And farmer tan - no one needs to hear about that crap.

Winning makes everything better, even the inevitable rough patches that any team goes through. Especially football teams. The sheer number of players and coaches bringing varying backgrounds and temperaments to the table creates a natural tension. Hell, my roommate wanted to beat the shit out of me a couple months ago, and rightfully so, because I blasted him in the back during a practice dispute {Anyone who has played understands that the offense/defense dynamic changes drastically during practice.} and that was before we had played in a game. When the wins aren't coming tempers are a little quicker to flare, and can make winning even more of an obstacle.

Enduring losses is part of the game. Any game {I'll save you the obvious life parallels.}. There's no point in playing if you know you're going to win every time. Half the teams who played American football this weekend lost {Hooray Confed Cup!}. Walt Whitman didn't play a down but he recognized that "battles are lost in the same spirit in which they are won." It's a matter of controlling what you can control, giving the maximum effort for as long as possible, enjoying the whole process and hoping you are fortunate enough to get the requisite amount of luck. Heeding those words is a lot easier when you are winning.

It's also a lot easier to enjoy your teammates when you win instead of absorbing defeat and mentally rehasing turning points in the game. Those who step in and perform at a high level. The jubilation after the final seconds tick off. The impromptu chants in the locker room. Singing 'Don't Stop Me Now' horrendously off key, off time and with utter disregard for the lyrics. Busting on guys while getting ready. The breakdowns are louder, the showers warmer, the beverages tastier, the conversations more intellectual {Well, maybe more lively...}, the carousing more Bacchanalian and the body less sore after wins.

The people are the same; the effort is the same. The only thing different is a number. Sometimes it takes a win to be reminded of that.

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