Defining Success

How teams measure success besides winning


Rucha Soman and Sophia Chen

In every sport, there are winners and losers. Those who compete usually have to score the most for their team in order to prove which competitor, or competitors, are the victors.

Sophomore Ashley Twu takes a shot against Milpitas HS. Photo by Sreya Kumar

However, some people view competition differently. As a member of the field hockey team, which has suffered more losses than wins in the past two years, junior Aarushi Agrawal considers joining the team as a blessing. Rather than defining the success of her team by their wins and losses, Agrawal chooses to use improvement as an alternative measure.

 “I don’t really think [the] score is that important,” Agrawal said. “But I think we have a really strong team and we’re improving a lot, which is what matters in my opinion.”

As a member of the varsity golf team, senior Calton Kong doesn’t believe that the overall team score is significant, as participating in Central Coast Section (CCS) is usually determined by a person’s average score differential, not the team’s record.

“Winning barely matters in golf,” Kong said. “Unless you’re first place, it’s only about how you [play], not about how you finish.”

However, to English teacher and girls varsity basketball coach Sara Borelli, wins and losses matter. She believes that winning a game can boost the team’s morale, which can carry over to future games. Similarly, a loss for the team feels like a personal loss.t

“I can’t sleep at night [when the team loses],” Borelli said. “I just [get] a wave of emotions from being upset, being hurt, disappointed, disappointed in myself. [I] just [keep] replaying the game … I should’ve done this, I should’ve subbed her in, I should’ve taken her out.”

While Borelli believes that wins and losses have an impact on the team, she acknowledges that sometimes the team loses even after working hard.  For this reason, she measures wins in a qualitative manner, looking at it in terms of hard work and contributions to the game. 

“I’m very proud of what we accomplished as a team … play[ing] through every game, com[ing] together and everybody do[ing] their part to win,” Borelli said. “That’s the greatest feeling. Especially when everybody scores, or almost everybody scores. That’s the best win for me — is when everybody does well.”

Both Borelli and Agarwal believe that the intense work ethic of play compensates for the results of the game, acknowledging that the score doesn’t always reflect how hard the team worked.

“Everyone just wants to try their best on the field,” Agrawal said. “They lay it all out on the field. They want to just go there. They want to be proud of what they did.”