Senior year teaches hard lessons in losing

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

As I look back at how I envisioned my senior year and how it actually turned out, it is a little disappointing.

I dreamed of making it to state in volleyball, only to fall one game short. And I saw myself leading my basketball team to a successful season, only to leave Notre Dame with one of the worst season records ever.

As a junior I never could understand why seniors seemed to play so tight. But now, after completing two seasons, I can begin to understand. When you are a senior all eyes are on you.

You know that you only have one more chance to get it right, and if you don't then it's just too bad for you. You begin to put pressure on yourself, and become frustrated when things don't turn out the way you want. But you also begin to see the game as more than just a game.

I knew that every time our team lost by one, or every time we didn't meet the goal we had set, it made me stronger.

Stronger as an athlete, stronger as a leader and stronger as a person.

Playing a sport when you win every time -- now that's easy. But playing a sport where you lose every time is a little more challenging.

This season has taught me that playing doesn't automatically mean winning. And no matter how bad you want something that doesn't always mean you get it.

Sure, we may have been only the second team in Notre Dame's history to end the season with a losing record. And we may be remembered as the first Notre Dame team to lose to Perryville and Dexter in eight years. And we may also be the team that ended the Notre Dame's eight-year reign on top of Class 4 basketball.

But I could not be more proud to be on a team. We never backed down in the face of a problem, and we learned to look past the doubts that came from outsiders.

We overcame injuries, and we held strong as a team. We learned the hard lessons the hard way, and we never got down on ourselves. When attending a school like Notre Dame where it is normal to win districts, and whenever a team doesn't make it to the final four it's a disappointment -- these lessons are hard ones to learn.

But we held our heads high and made the best out of what we had. And we will never forget that winning is held most sacred by those who never achieve it.

Amber Karnes is a senior at Notre Dame Regional High School.

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