“What does not kill you makes you stronger.”

This renowned phrase often attributed to the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche could become the mantra for the Carpenter High School Spartans football team after the Meadow Lake squad recently finishing its second consecutive season without a single victory.

The regular season came to a close Oct. 14 when North Battleford’s John Paul II Collegiate Crusaders, as well as Mother Nature (in the form of a severe winter storm) double-teamed the Spartans, resulting in a resounding 26-0 loss. With one last chance for redemption, however, the Spartans travelled to Kindersley Saturday (Oct. 22) for conference playdowns only to feel the venomous bite of the Kobras in the form of yet another defeat.

As discouraging as two straight seasons with no wins must be for the team, its fans and for the school as a whole, it’s important for all those involved – players and coaches alike – to remember one key thing. When it comes to success, experience goes a long way

On more than one occasion this season, the Spartans have been described as a young team when compared to their counterparts from other schools. With only a handful of players from Grades 11 and 12 on the roster, it’s no wonder CHS has been unable to chalk up the wins as of late. Surely, however, this will change over the next few seasons as current players become more comfortable in their respective roles and are able to better capitalize on their experiences on the field. Having a few more veteran players on the team will also allow them to pass on what they’ve learned to the rookie players which, in turn, will help the entire team up its game.

Unfortunately, one key element for success is still missing. According to former Spartans head coach Craig Paylor, the CHS Spartans achieved their greatest success a few years ago when the team reached the championship final in the SHSAA nine-man league. That year, many of the Grade 12 players on the team had already played the sport for several years because they were part of a now defunct Meadow Lake minor football program. Without a minor football program, many of today’s players are entering the high school system with little to no previous experience. If future Spartans are to be competitive with other schools, it’s critical a well thought out and properly organized minor program be reintroduced. Recently, Spartans defensive coach Mike Connolly and head coach Sam Dawson said such a plan was in the works, but all the equipment used for the younger kids was lost in the fire that destroyed the Spartans’ football shed last year. Indeed the reason to temporarily halt efforts to resurrect the minor program is a legitimate one, but it has to happen sooner rather than later.

In the meantime, the current Spartans should rest assured dark days don’t last. Embrace your passion for the sport, adhere to your convictions both on and off the field and continue to try your best. That’s what makes you winners.