Championship or Bust

Camden Paeltz | The Chronicle

Second place is the first loser. This seems to be a prevalent mentality in Mason athletics, but it shouldn’t be.

When I attended the state cross-country meet, most Mason runners had high hopes for a third consecutive championship victory. Instead, they fell just short and placed second to a very talented Massillon Jackson team. It would be easy for them to feel disappointed for not reaching their goal of a third-straight state championship, but a state runner-up finish is not a failure. Only 20 schools send full teams to the state meet each year. Just making it to state is an incredible accomplishment for most schools. Then they had to compete against the 20 best teams in the state and finished second. That’s something to be proud of.

The band sets its own high standards, and that’s understandable because Mason boasts one of the best bands in the state,
and that’s a fact. However, they only placed third at 2023 Indianapolis Super Regional Championship. Third out of 66 teams. Third out of 66 teams sounds much more impressive than just third. Competing with potentially the best bands from six states and still finishing in the top 5% of bands is even more impressive. Yet, according to the Mason stereotype, they didn’t win.

The girls’ volleyball team has won eight straight Greater Miami Conference championships and has not lost a conference game since 2015. There is a sense of pressure to continue that legacy and maintain perfection in conference games. Sports
can be very volatile, with each season bringing in new players and rival teams changing up their game. The Mason program has a strong recent history of GMC dominance but perfection is not a realistic expectation. They continued their undefeated streak and won the conference, but what would the reaction have been if they dropped a game? Is first place the only acceptable outcome?

It is true that Mason is the biggest high school in Ohio. Our strength in numbers certainly increases our chances of success in academics, sports, and activities. Success is normalized and is now an expectation. Other schools look up to Mason and want to beat us because of our well-rounded achievements. Mason has a “win or lose” mentality and because of it many achievements fall under the radar and don’t always get the proper recognition. It’s important to aim high and accomplish as much as possible, but it is important to keep things in perspective. Success can be measured in many ways, not just a first-place trophy.