Taking lessons in loss

By Darren Lum

We all need something larger than ourselves to be a part of. Find unity when you feel alone. Share in the ups and the downs. Have a memory that lasts and stays with us forever.
With a packed crowd, mostly Haliburton County Huskies fans, the community showed its support this past Sunday, with a belief in a team that has represented the Highlands with grit and determination this inaugural season in the Ontario Junior Hockey League. Perhaps their character and core strengths are a mirror of our hard working, never say die community, who has faced adversity and has persisted.
I found it fitting then that despite the obvious disappointment with an opening 5-3 loss to the visiting Cobourg Cougars on Sunday, April 17, a man, who had been cheering for the Huskies, stood up and applauded. There may have been more fans who followed suit, but I just didn’t notice. I’m sure the sentiment was shared. I wouldn’t expect less.
Earlier in the game, the home team had just surrendered three unanswered goals in what seemed like successive plays during the third period of what had been a tight checking game, full of big hits and near misses. It could have ended the game right there. Those goals scored in the way they were in rapid succession were demoralizing. And, yet, the fans of the Huskies chanted in unison, ‘Let’s go Huskies! Let’s go Huskies!’ The building shook. The Huskies responded not very long after, as if lifted and spurred on, if not inspired. They reeled off two unanswered goals to make it 4-3. It was a new game. Although the comeback ultimately fell short, the effort wasn’t in vain. The fight exhibited is true to the team’s character, which was also evident just a week earlier in the opening round when the Huskies were down in that best-of-three series. Rolling over isn’t possible with the Huskies. They may lose, but it won’t be from a lack of effort. I would like to believe in the idea of winning coming from doing everything you can. Putting everything on the line for achievement despite the odds.

There is a lot we can gain from losing. Using the often used cliché about losing a battle, but winning the war seems apt, as the best-of-three game series isn’t over after one loss. It may seem like an exaggeration, but life can be like sport. When you’re struggling and nothing seems to be going right and you find support from a loved one, an encouraging word or two, or someone throws you a smile to say, it’ll be alright you’re going to be fine it helps. During the pandemic there has been division, but there has also been support for one another. I think more support than division. That’s just me maybe. What’s the good in adopting the alternative mindset?
Let’s step back and remember this time last year Haliburton County didn’t have a junior hockey team to cheer for. Heck, we didn’t have much to cheer for at all as a province and a country, with the pandemic and various provincial health measures encouraging gatherings be small and social circles tight.
There is no denying that rates of infection for COVID-19 have gone up and that people are suffering.
However, even in a gathering when the outcome was not the ideal there was joy in the sharing even in defeat.

By the time you read this, the Huskies may have lost the second game and been eliminated in the best-of-three series. Or they may have fought to live for another day. Whatever the outcome like any team you have grown to love, or any family you are part of, or any community you call home, there will be a belief and hope for something better. That may be a victory, or that may just be an opportunity to grow. And isn’t that all we can ask for?