Joe Knows: States or bust

Joe Pohoryles
editor-in-chief

Whaddup Joe,

I’m a three-season athlete at this school, and I’m entering my final season as a Patriot athlete. In each of the most recent fall and winter seasons, both of my teams’ high hopes for victory and glory fell crushingly short, and I’m afraid that’s going to happen again this spring. It’s been a dream of mine since freshman year to win a state championship, in any sport, so how am I going to live with myself if I end up not doing it?

Appreciate the time,
Tense Title-seeker

On Mar. 1, our school had the privilege of watching our beloved ice hockey team take on our rival Churchill with the state crown on the line. Unfortunately, they fell just short, but the thrill of their playoff run brought the school’s level of excitement to heights that predate any of this student body’s time here. Doesn’t that count for anything?

Everyone wants to win, as they should. Yet, at the end of the day, this is high school sports. Most people would agree that, while winning is important to strive for, that’s not the only thing that matters when all is said and done.

And those people could not be more wrong.

Listen, Tense Title-seeker, if you can’t pull off a championship in your time here, to say your whole career will have been a waste would be an understatement.

The immediate consequence is that the optics will be horrendous. If you can’t win, that’s all people will remember you by. Delete social media and stay away from SportsCenter, because the coverage of your failure will be looped in the “Not Top 10” countdown for the rest of your life.

Think about it: this is it for you. You won’t move onto bigger, better things. How can you expect to win in college if you can’t pull it off here? And for the rest of us not taking the next step, it’s not like we have any other life aspirations to work toward outside of this.

That championship is the only prize that counts. There’s no such thing as small victories, only necessary steps along the way. Winning mid-season tournaments? Beating Churchill or upsetting another rival? Those certainly don’t mean anything if your season ends with you hugging a teammate, muttering “next year…”

On the subject of teammates, what value comes out of working hard with teammates toward one common goal, shaping friendships that could last a lifetime, if you don’t make it to the big game? You’ll have nothing to reminisce over if you lose. What good are old teammates when you could have your medal in a shoebox in your closet, or hanging from your bedpost, like any great token of achievement?

My best advice for you is to circle the wagons and win by any means necessary. This is your only chance to peak in life. Make it count.

So whether you’re a freshman with the rest of your Patriot career ahead of you, or a senior looking back on what could’ve been, just remember that winning really is the only thing that matters when it comes to high school sports. Nothing else comes close.

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