Niagara Gazette —
It's been a while since I've cleared off the desk or simply said 'hello,' but now is a good time to do so. Here are a few thoughts and tidbits coming off the desk this week...
• As fun as it would have been to follow and present the story of a Niagara County Community College basketball team that went undefeated, the recent two-game skid that handed the women's team its first tastes of defeat this school year is actually the best thing that could happen to them.
They are without a doubt a very talented squad. It's not unrealistic to believe they may still go far in the Western New York Athletic Conference postseason. Losing, however, just made them a lot more honest. And that's what I think will make them even better heading into the home stretch.
It's very easy for complacency to set in when you've not lost. Lessons that could and should be learned about how to be more than good, to be a champion, often get missed in the glow of success that doesn't seem to stop.
Women's coach Nate Beutel agreed when we asked him about that point of view while chatting on the phone Thursday night following his team's big win over Genesee Community College.
So, too, did men's coach Bill Beilein when asked about his own Thunderwolves squad, which has also rarely come up on the losing end of games this year.
Both NCCC squads have plenty of examples they can look to of other rising powers who had to know how to lose first before they could win.
Sidney Crosby and Wayne Gretzky both lost a Stanley Cup Final series before their respective teams won the following year. Michael Jordan toiled on Chicago Bulls teams that fell short for years before they climbed to the top. The Boston Red Sox lost a playoff series on a home run in 2003 and, the following year, was three games into what appeared to be a humiliating sweep by their Bronx archrivals before they learned, thrived, and made history.