Losing makes the wins taste sweeter

February 06, 2005|by MARK KELLER

It's difficult to tell the members of a team mired in an 84-game losing streak that they'll be stronger from the experience.

Now that the Clear Spring girls basketball team has ended its skid that lasted nearly four years, it might be a little easier to tell those girls just that.

Nobody likes to lose in any sort of competition - be it basketball, Trivial Pursuit or marching band. The desire to compete is surpassed only by the desire to win.

I'm a firm believer that kids - from a very early age - need to know that in all competition there is a winner and a loser.


One key is to teach them to win with humility and dignity. Celebrating wins too heartily makes the losses that are bound to come that much tougher to swallow.

The other key: Teach kids to take losing in stride - not to accept losing, but to build off of losses and work toward wins.

That kind of perseverance makes the wins much sweeter. The Clear Spring girls basketball team can attest to that.

Anyone who follows sports with any regularity has opinions about the games.

For instance, those into football know - beyond all doubt - who is going to win today's Super Bowl. And no matter how much others might try to sway your opinion, it doesn't work.

Because you know that you're right (and everyone else is wrong).

So, if you're one of those people who has strong opinions about sports and you enjoy expressing those opinions, I want to hear from you.

Beginning in March, we're giving four readers the opportunity to write a monthly opinion piece for publication in the sports section of the Sunday Herald-Mail.

Got an idea for fixing the BCS? Let us know.

Disagree with our top 10 basketball rankings? Explain why we're wrong.

Think the Baltimore Orioles will win the World Series this year? We want to give you a voice.

Your mission, if you choose to accept it, will be to write a 350- to 500-word column once every four weeks, then be prepared to endure the wrath of the readers.

(Just kidding ... our readers are great. In fact, you're a reader, too. Isn't that a coincidence?)

If you're interested, please e-mail me at before Feb. 18 and let me know what some of your favorite topics might be. I'll then select four people with diverse opinions to serve as our guest columnists. (We don't want all four people writing about the Orioles, now do we?)

The first guest column will be published on March 6.

Since it's Super Bowl Sunday, I suppose I should make a Super Bowl pick.

Without regurgitating all of the same information you've all heard for two weeks, I'll simply say:

Patriots 27, Eagles 13.

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

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