Archive for Thursday, October 22, 2009

Column: It’s time to forget about regular season losses

October 22, 2009

Is it possible to coach a winning attitude or consistency? How about that killer instinct that champions often have inside themselves?

Or, perhaps, are those qualities uncoachable? Maybe they are found in some athletes and not in others.

I’d like to think it’s a little bit of both. In saying that, I still believe it’s more of a characteristic some individuals possess and others lack. It’s nothing against a person, but it can be the difference in crucial situations in athletics.

It can often mean the difference between advancing to the next game and heading home till next year. No athlete wants to end their season without a championship, but how can they attain those necessary qualities on short notice?

The time to find out is now. It’s postseason time at the high school level and Baldwin High School’s fall athletes need to dig deep and find a way to win. I’ve seen it in every sport at some point, but not enough for some sports to be viewed as successful in some peoples’ eyes.

I’ll even go out on a limb and say, other than the girls’ cross country team, it has been a disappointing fall season for the Bulldogs. Expectations were high in August and somewhere during the last two months things have changed. Those include injuries, sickness and many close losses.

Now is the time to learn from what’s happened in the past two months. It’s time to put everything together for one last hurrah. It’s time to give it all you’ve got for the sake of your own pride and your teammates who have sweat and bled beside you.

Baldwin High’s football team is a perfect example. BHS is given new life each fall with its final three games. It’s like a mini playoff system with the three district games.

In past years, Baldwin wouldn’t have needed those games to advance if records decided everything. However, this year is a new chapter. The Bulldogs suffered some tough setbacks during their first six games.

Once they took the field last week, none of that mattered. The Bulldogs went out and played a great game and took advantage of a weaker opponent. Now they are 1-0 when records do count.

A win Friday night would guarantee them a spot in the Class 4A playoffs. It would also give them a shot to win the district the following week if they could upset rival Eudora. First, BHS must play another great game Friday.

On Saturday, Baldwin’s volleyball squad will be facing a tough road at the 4A sub-state tournament. BHS will be the No. 8 seed and must play the No. 1 seed to start the day. To the untrained eye, Baldwin wouldn’t stand a chance. I beg to differ.

This is where those three qualities first mentioned especially come into factor. Baldwin’s volleyball team has loads of physical talent all around the court, but they’ve been unable to win many matches this fall.

Fans of the Bulldogs have seen the entire spectrum with this squad. They can look amazing one night and dreadful on other nights. I still believe the amazing team is there and they have the talent to make a run through sub-state.

Baldwin will have to come out firing on all cylinders early in the first match. Maybe they need to celebrate the life of Alex Bergan once more, because the Bulldogs played their best after that touching celebration. If they will play that hard in her memory, hopefully they can do it again Saturday.

Everyone loves to root for the underdog and watch the underdog win. It happened the last time BHS made the state basketball tournament. In 2000, Baldwin’s boys’ team knocked off No. 1 seed Jeff West in the first round of state. So ladies, it is possible and you have the talent. Go play together and lay it all on the line early Saturday.

Baldwin’s soccer team will also open up postseason play with a road game. The Bulldogs have only won a single game all season, but they’ve come close to many other wins, especially during the past couple of weeks.

The Bulldogs’ offense has begun to come alive lately. If they can get ahead by a goal or two, then play the defense they’re capable of playing, the Bulldogs have a chance to upset some teams in the region. It’s a youthful BHS squad, but it’s coming together at the right moment.

As far as the cross country teams, keep running and doing what you’ve been doing. I can’t tell the girls’ squad anything different that will help their tremendous season. For the boys, I hope everyone is healthy and ready to run these next two meets. Just run for your life boys and represent the BHS uniform like your former runners would want you to do.

The time to play like champions is now.


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