There is an old adage in sports that you make your breaks. I've always thought this true most of the time. However, sometimes you can do your best, and either the other team is just a little better or the breaks, for whatever reason, just don't go your way. Additionally, many throughout various stratum of the sporting world hold to the attitude that unless the end of the season finds you holding the national championship trophy, you and your teammates have failed. I'm not sure what others think, but I personally believe that while this train of thought may be OK at the professional level, its not close to applicable at lower levels of competition, and particularly doesn't belong within the framework of the D III level of sports. Last year for instance, I know the NCC basketball players felt crushed after their semi-final loss at the Final Four. However, by no means did this one loss negate the boatload of positives that were accomplished and accumulated by the team over the entire season.
Of course, only one of the teams left in the playoffs will capture the ultimate prize. However, after the final whistle blows, I hope all the student-athletes on all the teams left look back with pride at what they have accomplished, both this season, and over the course of their college careers should they be a senior. While a loss at this point of the season will be a crushing blow, nobody left standing at this juncture is a failure, either individually or as a team. However, its probably an inescapable fact that it will feel like that for at least a while.
Below is an article with comments from some NCC players. The comments highlight feelings whose roots in some cases go back four years, and, unfortunately, bring to light the pressure to succeed, and the totality of what a loss, especially to a senior, means at this point. However, as above, I hope all the guys who take the field today realize that success is already theirs. http://napervillesun.suntimes.com/sports/fbl_ncc-NAP-11292013:article“I think it’s just knowing that this is it,” offensive tackle Jace Werkheiser said. “We’re seniors. If we lose, we’re done. If we can’t get it done, we’re done forever. I think it’s our senior group that’s really pushing.”
Done playing football Jace. Not done succeeding.
* And just so there is no question from anybody, no, I'm NOT predicting a NCC loss today.