Four straight years of losing comes with a bright side


Nate Schenk

Izzy stands with the poster her teammates made her on her senior recognition night.

Izzy Swanson, News Editor

The worst moment of my soccer career came when a player from the opposing team congratulated me on my last high school home game — after we had just lost 8-0. It was disappointing to know that the last time I would ever play at my high school stadium had ended with yet another disappointing loss. 

In four years of playing Baldwin high school soccer, I never had a winning season. That realization was a disheartening one at first. 

My freshman year I learned of the bad omens that had been placed upon the girls soccer team. To explain, we play in one of the hardest sections in the WPIAL. Unfortunately, we do not have the means to keep up with the other teams in the section, as they generally are wealthier school districts. Hence, their youth programs are better and almost all of their players play for club teams. 

However, during freshman year I was just happy to see some varsity minutes, so the losses did not bother me very much. As high school progressed, however, the losses did start to impose on me. My sophomore year, the team suffered loss after loss. Unfortunately, these were not small-scale losses. We were getting beat by three goals or more almost every game. 

Junior year turned out to be a mirror image of my sophomore season. Self-doubt began to take precedence in my mind, as I now questioned whether I was even good enough to play against these teams that would continually beat us. I was no longer excited for games, practices became a chore, and I couldn’t wait for the season to be over. 

It was obvious that my teammates were experiencing the same feelings as I was, as they started to become easily irritated with one another. We began to yell at each other on the field and blame each other for things that were simply out of our control. 

We were all close friends, but soccer began to tear us apart. 

My senior year has produced the same record as previous years. But I have learned the most about life and people in general from this season. 

I’ve learned that people work best when they feel they are in a safe place. As a senior, a lot of responsibility was placed on me, as I was responsible for encouraging the girls to work hard but also encouraging them to stay positive and motivated. 

This was a difficult task, especially since I found it tough sometimes myself to look on the positive side of things. However, I learned that when people look up to you as a leader, sometimes you have to fake it to make sure everyone else still believes in the cause. 

Eventually, I no longer had to fake my smiles after the games, as even through the losses I began to see small improvement with each game. My whole mindset changed, as I now focused on accomplishing small goals to eventually reach the big goal at hand. 

Soccer also opened up my eyes to the challenges that those around me face. As a result of playing with so many different people, I came to the understanding that everyone has their own problems they have to deal with, but we all have one thing in common: Soccer was a way to relieve the stress of life. 

Although I cannot say I played for the best team, I can say that over the years I have gathered many lessons from soccer that I can apply to life.