Moral Victories & Life Lessons

Yes, there are moral victories in sports, as in life.  Some programs and coaches accustomed to winning and playing for championships may tell you there are no such things as moral victories.  You either win or lose…  While that is true on the scoreboard, it is not necessarily true in the development of a team or its student-athletes.

Teams Stick Together (Photo by Paul Hayes)

This past weekend we hosted the only 4-0 Division 1 team in Vermont, and did so absent the contributions of 4 injured starters, and early in the game, lost a 5th

Yet we found ourselves knotted at 21 at the half and only down one score later in the 4th.  In a seesawing contest where momentum shifted multiple time, there were ample opportunities for our players to become overwhelmed and feel sorry for themselves. Yet they found ways to rise to the challenge and battle back nearly every time. While we did not ultimately win the contest, we accomplished a great deal against a very tough opponent. 

In high school sports, one must embrace the concept of education-based athletics.  We learned a great deal about our team and those players who stepped up from their backup roles. Friday night’s game was a finite game… It had a beginning, an end, and a winner and a loser. Life, however, is an infinite game. In an infinite game, the goal is to make choices and decisions enabling the continuation of play.

Despite the perceived prowess of the opponent, injuries, and shifting momentum, our players never quit. They fought through adversity, turned to each other, and battled back. All traits and characteristics underpinning success in the infinite game of life. While the clock may have run out sooner than we would have liked, the lessons learned from that loss will serve our team well this season and our players for the rest of their lives.

Coach Rich Alercio is available to discuss coaching philosophy, X’s & O’s, or teach his O-Line “techniques in the trenches.” Contact Coach at and share with your colleagues and friends. Thanks for supporting this blog and joining our conversations, and as always, thanks for your time!  

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