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What Makes a Team Lose?

Dodgers Stadium at Sunset in Los Angeles, California (Photo courtesy of Pixabay).

Dodgers Stadium at Sunset in Los Angeles, California (Photo courtesy of Pixabay).

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Between all sports, each fan shares a mutual distaste for their favorite team taking a loss. Whether your team is on a hot winning streak that was suddenly upset by an underdog, or in an unfortunate rebuilding phase and losing game after game, the heartbreaking sentiment is constant among all fans. However, some fans are not used to losing, especially fans of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Many fans were baffled to see the rapid downward spiral of the #1 ranked team that once saw over fifteen winning streaks regularly this past summer. They began to lose to teams such as the San Diego Padres and Philadelphia Phillies, who have seen virtually no success in recent years. Why? What exactly can cause a team to lose?

“Where a team is based can affect how a team performs, like if the team isn’t good, it is far away, and the city doesn’t have a good reputation, there’s not going to be a lot of involved fans,” says junior Kenya Adams.

Let’s face it, an athletic event based in Los Angeles or New York promotes an appealing and electric atmosphere, engulfing fans in excitement, and will have a lot more attendance than one based in Detroit or Cleveland. A lacking of an appealing geographical setting can take a toll on fans. While local fans may stay loyal, unsafe cities with poor reputations will keep new fans away as well as lessen the willingness of away team fans to attend these games. This can negatively impact players, as they have less of a fan base, but they also have to live in these cities with poor conditions during the season. Having to live in these surroundings can take a toll on athletes, along with their families, affecting their performance. In contrast to this, being a young athlete living in a city such as Los Angeles or Chicago is a tempting offer. These everlasting, lively cities can lure these prodigies on a dangerous path to a potential career ending mishap or scandal.

“Team chemistry is very important because, throughout play [in a game], you will know what your teammate is going to do, and know their decision making… The whole team works together by knowing their strengths and weaknesses,” senior Justice Collins says.

Every athlete on any sports team rolls their eyes when their coach begins preaching a sermon on teamwork and compatibility between players, as this is the most generic fundamental lesson necessary for all athletes looking for success. Team chemistry is the backbone of progress; being able to anticipate your teammates’ next moves keeps the progress of your team ahead of the other, and helps your team adapt to situations together. Not having this relationship within a team can butcher chances at any type of forward momentum. It’s called a team sport for a reason, as you cannot rely on a single player to carry the slack of others, no matter how talented. This morale among the team can be tampered with as players come and go through trades and free agency offers. Replacing a less talented player with tenure for a better player can provoke conflict with interfering playing styles with this new player and the new team. We all saw this one go down in the summer of 2004 when Karl Malone, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, and Gary Payton gave up an almost guaranteed championship ring against the Pistons due to their ill relationships as players.

“No matter how many games you play, every loss counts,” says Adams.

Despite the copious amount of games a Major League Baseball team sees every season, every loss stings. A single loss can dictate the outcome of a series between two teams, as a team can get caught up with the idea of losing, further harming their game. Simply getting off on the wrong foot can foreshadow a lackluster performance. The psychological effect of the possibility of losing replaces the sense of logic with fear. This fear of losing leads to mistakes. You can see a cycle begin to form. Many believe this vicious cycle led to the decline of the Dodgers. Losing can psychologically affect a player the same way disappointed fans can. The pressure fans put on athletes through social media is impactful on performance, especially the ways fans mockingly address these situations.

“I think, when you lose, you can take it one of two ways: you can feel discouraged, especially coming off of a large winning streak [like the Dodgers], teams can feel like they just lost it. Or you could feel motivated, as losing can be more than winning, because you can learn from your performance, which in, some ways, can be more valuable than a win by not making the same mistakes,” Collins says.

While all fans hate taking a loss, many do not realize the potential stored in losing. Playing a bad game can expose the weakness in one’s game, which is imperative moving forward. Learning from mistakes is the way we have survived on this Earth for billions of years, so who is to say keeping up a team’s performance is any different? A disappointing game can be the key to preventing another humiliating loss. As painful as it is for some fans, losing keeps the game interesting and fun. We all know how boring it has been these past three years with the NBA seeing the same Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers battling it out in the finals. A change of scenery is always nice, even at the expense of your favorite team. While it would be impressive to see a team mow down another in a state of complete dominance, the tale of one team practically running the entire league will eventually run dry. In short, Dodgers fans should keep their heads up, partially because they get to witness one of the most unique and historical baseball seasons ever with major successes and upsets. However, in the eyes of all other baseball fans, the Dodgers simply blew it. In whichever purview these fans lay in, it cannot be denied that Los Angeles still has the best record in the league, finishing at a whopping 104-58 record, clinching the NL West. All we can do is keep our eyes focused the postseason.

“I think, when you’re the top team in the nation, you get cocky, and you don’t show up to teams that should be easy wins, and it just kills the team in rankings, and gives them more chance for error for not putting effort into games,” junior Corey Curtis suggests.

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Brashier Middle College Charter High School News....written and created by students, for students
What Makes a Team Lose?