Community footy writer, Beth Newman, is pulling on the boots this season.
“Winning isn’t everything – it’s the only thing.”
Vince Lombardi was one of the most successful NFL coaches of all time, but with this famous one liner, I think he was sorely mistaken.
Growing up watching footy on TV, and having interviewed a few coaches now, I have tended to heed some phrases with a grain of salt.
Most prominently, when teams are getting flogged each week and the coach deflects pressure by saying something like “we’re looking to improve in certain key areas and once we do that, the results will follow.”
Or another gem, coming out of the expansion era – “We just want to develop our kids, but the results for us are still a couple of years away.”
Rubbish, right? Winning is the only real marker of success – just ask North Melbourne.
I’m the kind of person who tries to win in a warm up lap of the oval – so to say, I’m naturally competitive, would potentially be an understatement.
If you had asked me four weeks ago, I definitely would have stolen a line from Ricky Bobby in that modern classic, Talladega Nights – “If you’re not first, you’re last.”
But I have had somewhat of an epiphany in the last month, and it has come in the form of a 0-4 start to the footy season.
You know what? Maybe there’s something more to sport than winning.
Last week, the UQ Red Lionesses faced off against Palm Beach at UQ.
We put on the best defensive pressure all season, had some of the most efficient passages of play we’ve ever completed and even almost got a bounce out of someone.
In every way, we beat our previous performances hands down, and it felt like it, Never mind that the scoreboard read 81-5
I’m not going to say that we felt like the true winners, because that would be an out and out lie.
But, we’ve improved in a number of key areas and now we’re just a few small tweaks (and maybe a couple fewer concussions) away from getting a W on the board.
And the best part about it is that everyone has an incredible time – each week, we enjoy taking an opponent down just that little bit more, a few more kicks find their targets and the ball enters our forward line just a little more often.
And at the final siren, we’re the team with the biggest smiles, the most laughs and plenty of positive things to say to eachother.
Maybe not everything coaches say is a complete lie.
The way I see it, we’re like the GWS of the SEQAFL Women’s League.
All the effort and none of the experience (and no Kevin Sheedy).
The great news is that experience comes easily, effort is the hard thing to get.
Okay, so winning is still pretty nice – but I’d far prefer a 0-13 season that you enjoy every second of than an 13-0 season that feels like torture.
And when everything starts to align, there’s a guarantee that we’ll enjoy winning too.