Parasiliti: Even winning is loaded with necessary evils

September 11, 2011
  • Bob Parasiliti
Bob Parasiliti

Winning makes the world go round.

Oh, right. For many years we have been fooled into believing that love makes the globe spin. In reality, even love is a victory because you have to win someone’s heart.

Winning has a strange hold on us. It’s not everything, it’s the only thing, mainly because winners never quit.

According to former Washington Redskins coach George Allen, “Winning is living. Every time you win, you’re reborn. When you lose, you die a little.”

Still, winning is filled with consequence. It is as much a declaration of ability as it is of character. There are so many decisions to make when you win — especially these days — and many test values by forcing a walk across eggshells.

Winning is a constant battle between how we’re told to act and how you should act. For many, that little voice in the back of their head is called sportsmanship.

In football, teams are supposed to kill their opponents, yet still let them live to fight another day.

Cheers tell teams to beat opponents, but there is a thin line between submission and humiliation.

Victory is like a game on the Price is Right. Coaches have to know the right number of points without going over, which is the difference between winning and running up the score.

That’s because losing not only leaves a bad taste, it also creates lasting memories and character judgments.

Ten days ago, South Hagerstown dealt with the dilemma of winning when it defeated Berkeley Springs in its season opener.

The Rebels dominated the game and outclassed the Indians from the first snap, which was a Berkeley Springs fumble.

South led by 26 points after the first quarter, 39 at half and 59 after three periods. The Indians turned the ball over four times in the first nine minutes of the game, all leading to South scores. The Rebels returned an interception, a kickoff and a blocked punt for touchdowns and had two other scores cancelled by penalties.

Even South’s second and third stringers moved the ball easily against the Indians.

It all put coach Toby Peer to the test. He knew enough was enough, but there was no easy way out.

He is trying to create a winning culture at South. He couldn’t stop  his players — especially nonstarters — from trying to score. And the large deficit didn’t start the running clock, a mercy rule not used in West Virginia.

Add to the equation Peer’s utmost respect for Berkeley Springs coach Angelo Luvara, who coached him when both were at Potomac State.

He needed to keep the clock moving without hurting players or feelings.

After the Indians scored to break the shutout, Peer spoke to game officials with 7:35 remaining. After the conversation, South ran a few plays that suddenly had holding penalties attached.

The Rebels didn’t protest. They just accepted the yardage and kept the clock running while controlling the ball.

The game ended with a 59-7 score, quietly and with little fanfare.

They say teams must learn how to win. The truth is they have to learn how to win while winning.

Humility, honor and respect are as important as mark under the W column.

It’s good to know that even winning at all costs has a price tag.

Bob Parasiliti is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail.  He can be reached at 301-791-7358 or by email at

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