A loss isn’t the worst thing

Patrick Newell

Dave Gorton made a simple comment that was plainly obvious, and one all good teams should remember: After last Saturday’s game against Harpursville, one in which Gorton’s Trojans lost a 55-52 decision in the MAC championship game, he said: “Any loss that does not end your season is not the worst thing.”
The worst thing that can happen, clearly, is a setback that does indeed end a team’s season, and Greene will play another day in 2009. Sure, it lost the opportunity to finish the regular season at 20-0 and repeat as league champions, but the Trojans’ eyes have been on a bigger prize all along, as Gorton pointed out as well: “This is disappointing, but it doesn’t take away from the ultimate goal: To win a sectional title.”
Harpursville’s victory also proves that the timing of a loss doesn’t mean much at all. With its MAC divisional title all but wrapped up, the Hornets lost to Oxford over a week ago, 34-31. It was just the third loss for the Hornets all season, and it kept them from a perfect run through division play. That defeat was already forgotten by the time the Hornets stepped on the floor Saturday at SUNY Oneonta.
Rewind three years ago to the 2006 Norwich Tornado girls’ basketball team. Norwich dropped its last regular season game to Owego, and fell in the first round of the STAC playoffs to Elmira Free Academy. Back-to-back losses didn’t dissuade or discourage the Purple, who won three playoff games, the final one over Oneonta for the program’s second-ever Section IV title.
Coaches will never turn down the opportunity to win a league championship, but most mentors will quickly trade a loss there for the opportunity to be the best team in the section.