Losing is hard, we can all agree on that. All of the Rowland Hall community felt the pain of losing when the girls’ soccer team lost 4-3 during the 2A championship game against Waterford on October 23. I’ll admit, I thought we had this game in the bag. I remember thinking that there was no way we could lose this game because we had gone undefeated all season long, so it was a genuine shock to me when I heard we had lost. Either Waterford had really upped their game, or we were overconfident. Did winning all the time cost us our biggest win?
To gather more information on the attitudes of the players on the day of the game, I asked Kaitlyn Bates, one of the four captains on the team and a forward, about what had happened that day. I asked her about the spirit of the team before the match, and she said, “I think there was a sense of pressure considering we had won the past four championships… but there was also a feeling of excitement.” When it comes to preparedness, Kaitlyn told me things weren’t typical because of the bad weather that week, but they still met on Friday before the game to have a smaller team practice.
When I asked Kaitlyn if she thought that overconfidence affected the game in any way, she said that she didn’t think so, but she did refer back to the pressure the team felt as a possible reason for the early-game slip-ups. However, overconfidence can affect you in many ways. According to Soccer Psychology Tips, overconfidence can lower your determination and motivation. It creates a sort of careless attitude towards the game, which makes you more prone to making and ignoring mistakes. Kaitlyn explained that they didn’t necessarily have a sense of overconfidence, but rather a sense of familiarity: “We knew what to expect... and we knew this was a game we were going to have to fight for.” She then added that they played as well as they could. “I felt like we left it all out there. There was nothing we could’ve done differently... Everyone gave it 100% and everyone made sure that they left an impact on that game,” she remarked.
But you can win every game and still not suffer from overconfidence if you keep it in mind, right? That could be the case, but losing has value regardless the reason. Losing builds character and teaches you how to accept loss. Losing is humbling and creates the motivation and drive you need to improve. Losing can also help you identify areas for improvement. One area Kaitlyn noted an issue in was the team’s disconnectedness at the beginning of the game. She said, “it was a culmination of the nerves and the excitement of being at Rio Tinto, so we were a little bit frantic.” She also added that once they traded goals for a while, they got the energy up and the team really started to make progress, but “it just didn’t work out in our favor in the end.”
So yes, losing hurts, but sometimes we have to go through it to make sure we win the next time around. Failure, after all, is the best teacher. When I asked Kaitlyn about her biggest takeaways from the game, she said, “Obviously this sounds cliche, but just not taking anything for granted… We didn’t want to focus on the negatives, we wanted to focus on the excitement and the positives.” Kaitlyn showed me that the game isn’t always about the end result; it’s about what happens in the game. “It’s not that the game wasn’t a positive experience, it was.” She also added, “The way we kept ourselves going was by building each other up… bringing each other together, that was keep[ing] our heads in the game,” which shows that the teamwork during the gameplay was what counted for Kaitlyn, even more than the result.
The lesson the girls’ soccer team learned was to give it their all, and make sure to always uplift and support each other, no matter the circumstances or conditions. We were all upset about the loss, but we aren’t going to care about a score 10 or 20 years from now; we are going to care about the relationships and friendships we made while playing together. That’s what we’ll really remember when we look back at the yearbooks from high school.