Thursday, February 04, 2016

Wins And Losses


March Madness is around the corner! But, not all college games are on television and in the betting pools but that does not mean they are not significant. The story below, from January 8, 2007, highlights one of those occasions.

It's over! The longest losing streak in college basketball came to an end Saturday night as the Caltech Beavers thumped the Bard College (New York) Raptors by a substantial 81-52 margin. Caltech, famed for stellar academics, had lost 207 consecutive NCAA Division III basketball games, dating back more than a decade to the 1994-95 campaign. Like other Division III institutions, Caltech (technically California Institute of Technology) does not grant athletic scholarships and often plays young men who never even made a high school basketball squad. Their men's basketball website is what you might expect from Caltech. Let me quote from last year's season preview:
"Caltech has always had a fine intercollegiate player, perhaps two, on the roster but never a plethora of riches in talent with formal interscholastic basketball background; after all, this is Caltech."
I like that. They know who they are at Caltech and aren't ashamed of it. It might have something to do with the fact that Caltech has produced 31 Nobel Prize winners. I doubt we'll be seeing the Beavers featured on the college game of the week but I would guess these kids play for the right reasons; they like basketball and see it enriching their college experience.

I don't know how you define futility but Caltech basketball would embody it to many people. How do you keep going, as a player or coach, when you have lost every game for eleven years? I would imagine you have to continually find little victories until the actual ones, the kind where your score is listed on the left of the final tally, come your way. Life mirrors the victory-defeat totals of Caltech at times. We can't see where progress is being made when maybe the progress comes from just getting back up when we get knocked on our backside for the thousandth time. One of my favorite Bible verses comes from Second Chronicles, chapter fifteen. Here we find the prophet Azariah who is sent to Asa, king of Judah, to lift his spirits in a time of despair. Speaking through the Holy Spirit, Azariah gives Asa a message of hope:

"But as for you, be strong and do not give up for your work will be rewarded."
The narrative tells us that King Asa was encouraged by the words of Azariah and led a spiritual revival in the land. The setbacks of the past were history and Asa was emboldened to spearhead a return to the God of Israel by his wandering children. At times, many of us feel as if our lives mirror the won-loss ratio of the Caltech basketball program, that we never do anything that the world views as successful. Maybe all it takes is even the most modest of triumphs to show us we can reverse the direction of our existence, whether it be in economic, health, social, or spiritual arenas. There were few in the stands Saturday night but those Caltech players knew...and reveled in a feeling none of them had tasted on the college level. Now armed with the one game consecutive win mark, the Beavers have set their sights on their other ongoing streak. Caltech has not won a game in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in the last 245 attempts, a losing skid that covers 22 years! But watch out. One streak has been laid to rest; I have a feeling that the other will be buried shortly as well. Break up the Beavers!


Applicable quote of the day:
"You've got to get to the stage in life where going for it is more important than winning or losing."
Arthur Ashe



God bless,
Steve
Luke 18:1
http://www.hawleybooks.com/
E-mail me at steve@hawleybooks.com

2 comments:

Jon said...

I cant even believe they had a streak that long. I hope I am never on a team that has that long of a streak!!!

NylaAlatorre0301 said...
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