Anyone who has ever participated in athletic competition knows teams often follow trends. Teams seem to ride highs and lows, but rarely have an “average” part of a season.
Those kinds of trends can be seen when a basketball team puts together a ridiculous string of 3-point shots, when a quarterback just can’t seem to miss his receivers or when a baseball team just makes the game miserable for opposing pitchers.
With that said, for every team experiencing a high, another team experiences a low, and once that low period starts, it never seems to stop. Sometimes a team’s string of losses isn’t so much a reflection of poor play, but the fact they’re simply stuck in a rut.
Don’t believe me? Look at the Alabama baseball team last year. After the Tide started with a 4-3 record last season, it never once put a string of more than two consecutive wins together for the rest of the season.
But it wasn’t because of poor play. The team was simply stuck in a mindset of losing, and once a team finds itself in that state of mind, it’s exceptionally difficult to escape.
That is something that Alabama will have to watch out for this year. Still, it looks as if the Tide has started the season out on the right foot, going 6-0 and beating a top-25 team in Southern Miss before losing to Florida Atlantic in a series finale Sunday.
I’m not saying Alabama’s season is suddenly in jeopardy or anything, but winning and losing are both contagious to a team. Now that Alabama’s experienced its first loss of the season, it needs to make sure it can overcome it and continue winning.
Still, that shouldn’t be too hard for the Tide, which did start off the season with an impressive string of victories. Even the loss to Florida Atlantic wasn’t that bad, as the Tide had already beaten the Owls twice in the series.
Alabama has a chance to start another winning streak tonight when it plays the Samford Bulldogs at home. If the Tide shows up with a good attitude, ready to put the loss behind them, it could be the start of another win streak. However, if the Tide still has its mind in Boca Raton, Fla., then it could experience yet another loss.
That’s the nature of sports sometimes. One loss turns into two, two into three, three into four, and so on. What marks a truly competitive team isn’t who has the most talent. Rather, it’s the team that has the right mindset at the right time in the right place.
If Alabama wants to be competitive this year, it’s going to have to learn to keep that right mindset the entire season, something it was apparently unsuccessful with last season. Alabama has already proven it can handle success. Now it just needs to prove it can handle losing as well.
Leading in today’s Crimson White: