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Results driven attitude is harmful to college sports

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Sports have never been for me. I’m an uncoordinated kid, physically. My arms are too slow to throw a good pitch, and my legs are too stiff to outrun anyone. I’m a pacifist, so trampling a guy in order to take control of a situation has never been my craving.

Most of all, I’ve never been overly competitive or strung up in the outcome of competitions. I’ve always aimed to enjoy the process of things, regardless of the result.  I figure if I enjoy the process, whatever the context may be, the results will take care of themselves and, win or lose, I’ll die a happy man with a full cup.

I’ve covered two games this semester, and I’m surprised at how contrary things seem to be in the competitive ring. If a team loses, they’re beaten emotionally, thinking  themselves terrible players because the results didn’t show.

These were tense games where every player gave a piece of themselves out on the field. As a spectator ignorant of everything athletic, I envied everyone.

But as anyone and their left brain would tell you, that doesn’t pay the bills. Mathematically, the other team outscored you. It doesn’t matter that you tried. The mistake you made is so simple: you lost.

The idea is not farfetched, by any sort. We’re all getting our degrees because employers are most concerned with credentials, not how passionate we are about our majors. The “real world” thinks in terms of tangible results, and you if don’t have them, you lose.

This prioritization of the outcome and contempt with failure is shared with business when talking about the bottom line, profit and loss.

If a company experiences a loss, they alter the methodology of their business in a gamble to experience profit. If they experience a positive net, the team must be doing something right, and it’s a guessing game to figure out what exactly that was. How do they figure that out? More results! More numbers! More scores! So the riddles of correlation continue.

In sports, the same miscorrelation between end scores and the game can happen. The coaches did speak to their teams about new strategies to apply and applications to improve, but sometimes winning isn’t dependent on perfect execution of play. Instead, it can come down to sheer, unchangeable luck.

Who do you pin the losses on then?

As a coach, you have no choice but to put it on yourself and the team in order to motivate everyone out of contention with failure.

From my interactions with the players after the games, this is the mentality students in athletics appear to believe: success is measured on the bottom line, and failure means you must be doing something wrong.

In my 21 years experience in the game, life has never been so systematic. There have always been opportunities to appreciate both the story and the ending.

It’s a simplistic way of thinking that doesn’t belong in college sports.

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Results driven attitude is harmful to college sports