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Indians can stand proud because they did not quit

October 12, 2003|by LAURA ERNDE

As sports reporters, it's always great to cover or write about a team on a winning streak.

Those are the easy stories, because everybody - coaches, players, even fans - like to talk about their team when it's winning.

It is much tougher when a team is in the middle of a losing streak, because as the streak continues, those involved simply get fed up with the losing, let alone talking or reading about it.

We don't necessarily enjoy reporting with each passing week that a losing streak has been extended, but when it's part of the story, there's no avoiding it.

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So, of course, I'm going to write about a team on a losing streak.

I covered the Greencastle-Waynesboro football game Friday night, seeing Waynesboro's losing streak extended to 13 straight games after trailing 35-0 at halftime. The Indians' skid is the longest active losing streak in area football.

I and another reporter asked Waynesboro coach Darwin Seiler several questions about their defense and Greencastle's offense, all the while avoiding the question that needed to be asked.

Finally, I asked.

What do you tell this team at halftime - knowing about the streak, knowing they're 35 points behind - to get them pumped up and ready to play in the second half?

"The one thing I can say is that there is no quit in these kids," Seiler said. "They've been through some tough times here football-wise and they have the capacity to come out and play hard. In the larger scope of things, that's probably going to serve them well down the road."

Yes, it does sound like a clich, and had I not been there myself to see that the Indians did not quit and kept playing hard in the second half, I'd have probably dismissed that quote as typical coachspeak.

But Seiler was right. His players did not quit. They fought until the final whistle, and that's saying something.

It takes special athletes to put high school football teams like Martinsburg and North Hagerstown in the position that they're in right now. But it also takes a special kind of player to take the field week in and week out on a team like Waynesboro, which always seems to have the odds stacked against it.

And Seiler is also right in his assessment that the Indians' current futility will serve them well in the future. Though it hurts now, those players are learning that there are not always going to be victories in life.

The true lesson to be learned is that embarrassment does not come in losing. Embarrassment comes from giving up.

And in that sense, the Waynesboro football team has nothing to be embarrassed about.




Mark Keller is sports editor of The Herald-Mail. His column appears every Sunday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2332, or by e-mail at keller@herald-mail.com

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