“If losing builds character, then we’ve got enough characters on this team to fill up a Dickens novel.”

While I can’t recall precisely who said this, I do remember it well, for it was a quote attributed to a member of the Northwestern University football team back in the late 1970s.

I was a student at Northwestern in those days, and during my four years on campus, my beloved Wildcats posted a record of five wins, thirty-eight losses, and one tie.

You read that right: 5-38-1. (That’s a winning percentage of .132, sports fans.)

And if you think that’s bad, as a Northwestern alumnus, I suffered through watching my alma mater set an unenviable record for futility when the team lost 34 games in a row between 1979 and 1982.

I was reminded of this quote this past Friday when engaging one of our Upper El soccer players as he was arriving for the day already wearing the green MCS jersey in which he would take the field that afternoon for our season opener against our arch-rival, MSD. (Editor’s Note: Montessori Children’s House of Durham recently changed its name to Montessori School of Durham, thereby further confusing area residents who already couldn’t keep straight the alphabet soup of local independent school acronyms.)

“Big game this afternoon!” I said.

“Oh, we never beat those guys,” he replied, shrugging his shoulders and rolling his eyes. (Fact check: We had taken a bit of a pounding at the hands of our fellow Montessorians from Pickett Roadduring our series of games with them last year.)

“Come on,” I responded, encouragingly. “Even my Cleveland Browns won last night, so anything can happen!” (Editor’s Note: A native of Akron, Ohio, your Head of School sure knows how to pick ’em when it comes to sports loyalties, doesn’t he?)

Later that afternoon, after our very own MCS Mustangs had built an insurmountable lead late in the game, I happened to catch the eye of this very same student as he and his teammates were positioning themselves for a corner kick.

“How’s it goin’ out there?” I yelled.

While there was no verbal response, his facial expression that led me to believe that he was recalling our conversation of that morning, and then I noted a quick grin before he turned his attention back to the action on the pitch.

Our Mustangs will look to extend their winning streak to an impressive two games when they travel to Seawell Elementary this coming Friday afternoon. Perhaps you’d like to come on out, too?

I know I’ll be there. And while I’d never presume to guarantee a win, I’m fairly confident that we will be able to chalk up a few more points in the character-development column.

Tim Daniel, Head of School