Off and running

The scoreboard isn’t the only thing that matters


Mark Carlson, Sports Editor

There are ways to win other than on the scoreboard. For teams other than the 2016 Chicago Cubs and Golden State (and Warren Central) Warriors, the dubs aren’t the only things that matter in a game or during the season. Teams should strive for success as well as excellence.

Essentially, what I’m saying is that success does not equal excellence. Excellence is being one of the best and, keyword, winning a lot. Success is playing well and doing things to “the best of your ability.” For example, a basketball team with five freshman starting is not going to have the same expectations as a team with five Indiana all-stars (only four would be all-Marion County). For the team of freshman, their goal might only be to win one game. It could be hard for them to accomplish that goal, and if they do, they would end the season with a 1-29 record and still be considered a successful team. The All-Star squad could lose by one point in triple overtime in the state championship after an un-defeated regular season and be considered unsuccessful because they fell short of their expectations.

While the examples I gave have to do with high school basketball, the general concept applies to all levels of sports. For college football teams, a common goal is to make a bowl game, which is usually benchmarked by a six win season. Similarly for college basketball, a lot of teams try to make the NCAA tournament or sometimes even the NAIA tournament. If these goals are accomplished, it was a successful season even if the team loses 111-42 (Loyola and Texas Tech) in the first round and are booed off the court.

However, some teams expect excellence as their goal for the season. Teams that are loaded with talent and are at the top of their respective sports are expected to win and be the best. This years’ Cubbies were expected by all of their fans and by “experts” to win it all. The entirety of their season was judged off of them being the best out of the 30 teams in the MLB. Other teams weren’t held to the same standards because they didn’t have the same talent on the team as the Cubs did on their roster.

On the flip side, the Cleveland Browns have such low expectations, that people expect them to lose. Not only lose, but to get crushed and humiliated all the time. Fun fact: when you ask Siri where sadness is while you are in Cleveland, Siri gives you directions to the Brown’s stadium. That’s how low the expectations are. In 2014 when the Browns went 7-9, Browns fans were ecstatic. Going nearly positive with their season record was almost as hype to Brown’s fans, as winning the Super Bowl was to the Seattle Seahawks fans.

Just because a team is “god-awful” doesn’t mean they can’t have a good season. As a fan, coach or a player, you need to set your expectations for a level that can be achieved by a team and be overjoyed when they over achieve, even if that means winning a single game. Get the victories that matter, and don’t waste time chasing those elusive dubs.