Sometimes building character stinks, but Big Bend volleyball team still slugging

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Streaks in the left-hand column are the things legend are made of, and streaks on the “L” side make for good late-night talk show wisecracks.

When you’re on that downward spiral, there’s nothing to do but … (insert nonsense cliche here). Let’s face it, when you’re on a losing streak, it’s anything but character building.

I was a beat writer for a girls high school basketball team that went 1-20. The only win was a fluke at the district tournament that got them into the state tournament through a series of upsets on the other end of the bracket and a system that was all too fair.

Instead of giving me the chance to write a “Hoosiers” basketball story, they went two-and-barbecue, losing both games by 60 points. But I did get one of the greatest quotes I’ve heard in 35 years of doing this.

The point guard told me after the finale, “Coach was great. He never once told is we (stunk).”

I see that same spirit, spunk if you will, with the Big Bend Community College volleyball team. Sophomore middle blocker Madison Powers from Boulder, Mont., calls last year (1-30) “The season from hell,” and I would have to agree with her. To her credit, Powers came back this year to see if she can’t right the ship instead of letting it burn like a Viking funeral.

Big Bend (0-21) this season. Saturday's match at Treasure Valley was their (41st) consecutive loss, carrying over from 2016. The last time they won was Sept. 12, 2016 when they beat Centralia College 3-2.

I’m not saying this just to rip the scab off. I am impressed with the Big Bend work ethic. Sophomores Laurissa Kisler, Natalie Yergensen, Savannah Bass and Powers could have bailed with the wave of freshman non-returners from a year ago. But they chose to stay and help rebuild the Big Bend volleyball culture with first-year Viking head coach Michael DeHoog.

“It’s not because we’re not trying,” Kisler, who’s from Warden, told me last time we spoke.

I would have to agree. They have an energy that says, “bring it.” They have an attitude that says dive for everything, keep pushing, keep slugging. They take on the best in the NWAC and they carry themselves with dignity and honor.

The program is essential, because if life were fair, we’d all own our own island.

It's the opportunity that makes this country great. Sometimes your best doesn't get you a raise, you don't get the girl. You just keep fighting the good fight and bring a positive attitude to everything you do.

Big Bend can only rebuild one block at a time, set the foundation and keep reaching to the stars. Maybe they do it with locals, maybe out-of-state players, that’s DeHoog’s job. But as long as they play with spirit and take on what life has to throw their way, that’s good enough for me.

All the world loves an underdog.

Former New York Mets pitcher Anthony Young eclipsed an 82-year-old Major League Baseball record when he lost 27 consecutive decisions from May 6, 1992 to July 24, 1993. During that stretch Young was 0-14 as a starter and 0-13 as a reliever. He continued to chase the big league ball dream in Houston where he became a pitching coach for the Astros. He eventually died as a result of an inoperable brain tumor, but he kept on keeping on ... no retreat, no surrender.

The 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers (19-63), still reeling when LeBron James left for Miami, went on a 26-game downfall beginning Dec. 20, 2010. The streak ended on Feb. 11, 2011 when they beat the Los Angeles Clippers 129-119 in overtime. The Cavs eventually won a world title, giving the City of Cleveland its first championship.

Every time I watch the Big Bend Vikings play, I’m thinking “If they’re this spirited when they lose, all hell is going to break loose when the win.”

It’s only over when you give up and I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

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