In this day and age, winning is everything. So when Cal-Tech basketball recorded their fifth win in 25 games (for non math majors that’s 5 wins and 20 losses), pandemonium ensued. After the hard fought 46-45 victory over Occidental, the fans, including the school president, stormed the court, yelling and screaming as if they had just won the championship. Why, you ask. Are they celebrating the fact that the horrible season has finally come to a close? Hardly.
Coming into the game, the Beavers had lost 310 consecutive Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (that’s a mouthful) games dating back to 1985. Again, for you non-mathletes, that’s 26 years of losing every game on your conference schedule. Said coach Oliver Eslinger about ending the streak, “Tonight’s win is a testament to the hard work each member of this team, the alumni and the supporters have put into this program. I hope that everyone who has participated in Caltech men’s basketball is able to celebrate a little bit tonight.” It’s about time, right, coach?
So, why is Cal-Tech so bad? Why can’t they just go out and recruit some talent? For one, the California Institute of Technology (Cal-Tech) is a very small, private research university with just over 2,000 students. With alumni and faculty holding 31 Nobel Prizes (among a bevy of other awards and honors), you can quickly see that their focus is education and research, not athletics. Additionally, it’s as easy as 3.14159265; winning is everything. Good players don’t want to play for losing teams, especially teams that lose 207 straight games (as Cal-Tech did before winning a game in 2007) and 310 straight conference games. Let’s face it, those numbers aren’t exactly recruitment tools and no one wants to be called a “loser” or be the subject of perpetual jokes. Remember, it’s all about winning.
But, the question is: Should it always be about winning? Athletic director Julie Levesque said it best, “It’s never about winning or losing around here. It’s about learning from the process.” Well said, Mrs. Levesque. We here at Good Guy Sports commend that philosophy and congratulate the kids at Cal-Tech for getting off the schneid and for continuing to hit the court, regardless of the likely result. For that, we give the team a Gold Star and while they won’t be gracing the courts of the NBA, I’m sure they’ll become, as their mission statement says, creative members of society. To all the teams that have taunted and made fun of them over the years, how many Nobels do you have? That’s right, leave winning those to the Beavers.
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