June 2019: Teen-2-teen
Pressures of a winning team
by Laura Muggli
The national anthem is sung, and my team and I are ready, but nervous, for the first game of the season. Announced as the “reigning state Class B girls basketball champions,” we anxiously step onto the floor. With one returning starter from the winning team, the pressure was on all the players. After our first game, which we won, I was told we would probably win only half of our games this year. I believed it.
The season went on, with wins and losses. Each day, we learned something new, and we started to play better as a team. The pressure of a winning team faded, and we were able to build more team chemistry.
The biggest lesson I learned was how to find a win in our losses. We lost some of the best role models on our team last year due to graduation, but this allowed younger girls to step up and play more competitive basketball. In our season’s losses, the best way for me to learn was by finding the personal wins in each lost game, such as playing good defense, rebounding or getting an offensive score. In life, we cannot win every battle, but the lesson you learn is sometimes greater than the battle itself.
The greatest problem I see is how players recover from a mistake. Basketball requires mental toughness and strength. Many other sports and activities require this mental force. You must accept when you make a mistake and focus on doing it right the next time. If you do badly on a test, you cannot change the grade, but you can choose to study to get a better grade on the next test. When you fail, you must make the choice to practice and try again.
Our final record for the year was 17-7, which was better than the prediction made at the beginning of the season. The team grew exponentially this season, and the expectation is the same for upcoming seasons. We must continue to learn and not worry about past mistakes. The team has found wins in our losses, and we have created more team chemistry. We were not state champions, but that is OK. The team is excited to learn and play in the upcoming season.