Inside the Newsroom

News, commentary, insight on local happenings and fun from the staff of The Saline Reporter and Milan News-Leader.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Pain, risk isn't confined to one team

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a column for the Reporter and News-Leader about losing in sports. Not just any type of loss, though--the kind that stays with you, month after month, year after year. The examples I used were my own personal defeat in my sixth-grade country spelling bee back in Alabama and the loss by the Milan baseball team in their district tournament final. It was during the conversation with an audibly disappointed head coach Adam Gilles--a conversation over the phone, a few days after the fact--that reminded me how much it can hurt to lose.

I thought about including a few other examples of painful losses from Saline and Milan's very recent history--the Hornet softball team losing a late lead against Taylor-Kennedy, for instance, or the Saline girls' soccer team seeing their run of four straight district titles ended by Ann Arbor Huron. I'm sure that in one sense, the Hornet soccer players might be comforted by the fact that Huron would go on to win the state championship in a more dominating fashion than they won over the Hornets. In another sense, though, it might make the pain even worse--Saline was never outclassed in three games against the Rats (the first two were both 1-0 Huron wins with the goals coming in the final seconds) and by all accounts played their best half against them yet in the first half of the district final. There wasn't much, if any, talent difference between the two sides; a break here, a break there, and could it be Saline in the state title game?

So it's worth pointing out that there was more than one painful loss this spring. The column's length meant that said pointing out had to be relocated here, but rest assured I was aware there were plenty other examples of how much emotional risk is involved in high school athletics.

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