The Rosemont College softball team just finished their season, unfortunately they failed to record a single victory finishing 0-25, and 0-20 in the Pennsylvania Athletic Conference, finishing dead last. Sadly, none of the Ramblers games made it past the 5-inning 'mercy rule'. This season, as bad as it seems, isn't a far cry from the 1-23 season they posted just a year ago. "I had to start with the basics: This is a ball. This is a glove. This is a bat," Ramblers coach Joe Long (top: pictured middle) said in an interview with The Philadelphia Inquirer. "That first practice, I used rag balls and Wiffle balls and we still had girls jumping out of the way when I threw them a ball."
This isn't exactly a story of champions, but it is one of athletes who acted like champions. Rosemont, a 400-student, all-women, liberal-arts Catholic college nearly lost its program prior to this season when it graduated 4 seniors and 5 of its players didn't return for another season. The players who did stay played with heart and determination though.
"Quit? No, I never felt like quitting at all," said Tammy Do (top: pictured left, bottom: pitching), 21, a junior from Philadelphia PA who was 0-11 as one of two pitchers on the squad. "I couldn't be more proud."
Karen Boyle (top: pictured right), 19, a freshman infielder from Swarthmore PA, feels the same way. "It's hard to explain," Boyle said. "It has definitely made me stronger, and it helped make me realize that winning isn't everything."
"This was by far the best group of girls I've ever coached," Long said. "They stuck up for each other, and they never once got down on each other. I have never had a team bond like this. These kids have character."
This is really what sports should be all about. The games have become so much about winning, that this spectacle is hard to fathom for most sports fans, casual and die-hard alike. But it did happen and it should be remembered as a lesson for the ages. It is the real-life example of 'It's not whether you win or lose, its whether you have fun playing the game.' And isn't that the lesson we should be teaching the young athletes today?
And as for the Rosemont Ramblers hopes for next season, according to coach Long, "The goal for next year is to get past five innings." It's that simple, and it should be that easy for all athletes and coaches. Maybe we should all endure a winless season at some point in our lifetimes, it would surely make the victories that much sweeter. This season did have a bright spot after all the losses though. The Ramblers, who only have 10 girls on their squad, were awarded the 2008 Pennsylvania Athletic Conference Softball Team Sportsmanship Award. A fitting recognition for a deserving team.