Winning. Everyone wants to be a winner at what they do, whether that is in their career, their education or even life in general, but in sports, winning seems to be everything. Except winning is not always the best outcome.
The Oakland A’s, the Golden State Warriors, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the New England Patriots–What do all of these professional American athletic teams have in common? All of them have some of the longest and most impressive win streaks in sports history. The catch? None of these teams won their respective championship that season. The A’s and the Penguins both lost in the first round of the MLB and NHL playoffs respectively, and the Warriors and Patriots both lost the championship game or series after being huge favorites.
The lesson here? Losing helps. As a very wise and very green “Star Wars” character once said, “The greatest teacher, failure is.”
After winning so many games in succession, the team can see themselves as the best before they win the games that really count. People will often look back at the ’07 Patriots and the ’15-16 Warriors as two teams who had two of the greatest if not the greatest regular seasons in professional sports, but its the New York Giants and the Miami Heat who are the champions of those seasons at the end of the day.
Don’t feel too bad for either of these teams though, as the Warriors went on to win the NBA the following year, and the Patriots have remained the most consistently dominant team in the NFL for about 15 years. The Pengiuns, to their credit, are reigning back-to-back champions in the NHL. The A’s, on the other hand, haven’t been to the World Series since 1989, so I suppose they can’t all be winners.
From a purely logical and statistical perspective, the more wins a team has, the more likely that team is to lose. Obviously, sports is not solely about probabilities, but consider that out of 52 different Super Bowls, only one was ever won by an undefeated team, and the ’72 Dolphins had a ridiculously easy schedule (only two of their opponents had winning records) and a shorter season than the modern NFL.
So as ETSU is coming off of losing a 16 game win streak, keep in mind that the wins in the tournament are the ones that really matter.