July 22, 2014

Pohl’s Perspective

Softball Team Is Fearless

John Pohl, Journal staff writer

My hats go off to the Webster University softball team and its coach, Chris Eaton. Now, I am not congratulating the Gorloks on their 4-12 overall record this season or the fact that they were shut out on a recent road trip to California in four consecutive games by scores of 9-0, 7-0, 9-0 and 10-0.

There should be no party for winning one of 10 games during the trip out west. Nor should there be medals for Webster after it traveled to DePauw University in Indiana to play a doubleheader against the Tigers last week, and lost both games.

The Gorloks have been playing games for three weeks and have not played on their home field yet.  They are piling up frequent flyer miles and might have forgotten how good the food tastes to them in the University Center. Well, maybe I went too far with that one, but I think you get the idea.

I am not crazy — there isn’t a Webster team this year that I respect more than the softball squad. These Gorloks have guts and are resilient.

The bottom line is simple: there is nothing wrong with playing a tough schedule.

I am sure there is no enjoyment in getting smacked down by superior teams, but you can’t beat good teams unless you play them. Eaton and the Webster women have spread their wings and fear no one.

They understand you can’t get better unless you play better teams. And they won’t face the same level of play when they begin their St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference  season.

As I have stated before, I am not a fan of the SLIAC and the competition the Gorloks play. I don’t know what the answer is, but Webster does not belong in the SLIAC.

The enrollment size of Webster is far greater than any other school in the conference, and the fact that Webster’s campus is located in the most populous city in Missouri doesn’t hurt either. Being dominant in the SLIAC in most sports should be a given for Webster.

The softball team obviously has something far greater in mind than just playing and winning in the mediocre SLIAC. It isn’t about wins and losses, or having a great record. These Gorloks play for sheer competition and preparation for the SLIAC season and NCAA tournament.

Their motto should be: “There is no shame in losing, only in the fear of not trying.” They will face anyone.

Some might say playing these tough teams can’t be good. It will hurt the Gorloks’ psyche or put a dent in their confidence. I disagree; Eaton and the Gorloks know exactly what they are doing.

Webster is finally coming home to play a doubleheader against Illinois Wesleyan University on March 24 at Blackburn Park. The Gorloks will be battle-tested and hungry for a win. They then open the SLIAC season at home on March 29.

I have heard the saying “No guts, no glory” many times in my life. How often in life does it really apply?

For this team, it certainly does.

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