On Saturday, the Dakota Jackalopes defeated Saskatchewan 4-2 to finish out their season. That evening, coach Flim Dahlgren held a state-of-the-season press conference, at which he got a bit philosophical about the nature of winning and losing, particularly in the case of a rebuilding club like his.
Dahlgren’s musings began when a reporter asked him, “How would you rate your team’s success this season?”
The coach paused and reflected on the question before responding. “That’s a very interesting question, isn’t it?” Dahlgren began. “The point of this game is to win, and we didn’t win that many times, so perhaps the season wasn’t too successful. On the other hand, we’re supposed to be rebuilding, and the more we lose, the better our draft pick. So perhaps then we were successful.”
Dahlgren cocked his head and continued. “My players tried very hard all season to win. Perhaps I should have been telling them to lose instead? But still, we finished with the third-worst record, which is bad, but also good. It’s quite curious.
“Winning is better than losing, unless you lose too much, and then it’s better to lose. But you’re not supposed to say that, are you? They set up a system that rewards losing, at least if you’re already losing. But then you’re still supposed to try to win, or at least you’re supposed to act like you’re trying to win. If I say it’s a good season because we lost enough to get a good draft pick, am I violating the code?”
Dahlgren then paused and smiled at the reporter who asked the question. “I imagine you’re sorry you asked that now, aren’t you? You were just looking for a simple answer to put in your story. Instead, you got a philosophical treatise on the meaning of winning. I’m sorry, the season has put me through the looking glass. Remind me again what your question was.”
The reporter repeated his question, and Dahlgren replied, “I’d rate the season a 5. On a scale of what to what, I’m not sure.”
After the room filled with laughter, Dahlgren smiled and said, “I don’t really think in terms of a rating. This season was all about discovery. I took the job knowing that the team was rebuilding, and that my best players might be traded away at any moment. My job was to identify and grow young players who might help us compete later on, and I think I’ve done that.”
Dahlgren cited RW Arkady Golynin, LW “Jumbo Joe” Freelander, RW Asher Ravenbloom, and Ds Sergei Trefilov and Alex Angelos as examples of such promising young players. “So we have a core that we can build around,” the coach concluded. “And we have a number of draft picks and some promising players in the minors, so there is hope. That is success to me, for this season. I don’t know how to put a rating on it, but that’s my answer.”
He then paused and smiled before adding, “Okay, philosophy class is dismissed.”