There are losing streaks, and then there are the steaks like the one that the Arlington (Va.) Wakefield High boys lacrosse program was on entering the 2012 season. Heading into the first season of Wakefield head coach Brian Gilman's tenure at the held of the program, the Warriors had lost 91 straight games.
Yes, 91. The losing streak stretched back to 2004, when the Warriors lacrosse squad last won a game, against Arlington (Va.) Stuart High. After another rough start to the season, Wakefield's losing streak sat at 99 entering a face off with fellow struggling squad Sterling (Va.) Park View High in late April.
That's when Wakefield not only beat a fellow Virginia team, it blew it out.
As noted in LaxPower.com's statistical database, among other sites, Wakefield blitzed past Park View, 12-1, ending an almost unfathomable losing streak that lasted nearly a full decade.
For Gilman's part, earning a single victory was an accomplishment in itself, the first step to proving the program it could win important games in the future simply by winning a game now.
"That's the No. 1 thing is to get that first W -- get the monkey off our back," Gilman told the Connection Newspapers. "Then I think the guys will start getting into a culture of winning. I think once they get that first win they'll see the excitement and they'll just explode from there out. The other thing is [changing] the culture. Wakefield has a lot of negative stereotypes associated with the school and a lot of them are false. We have guys that are hard working; they want to try hard. …
"It's breaking those stereotypes and showing that we're actually a serious program now. It's not just some team that's a joke and we're hanging around, we're doing this for fun. We're here to win; we're here to do some business."
Unfortunately, it's been a return to business as usual for Wakefield after the breakthrough victory. The Warriors dropped their following three games, all by 10 goals or more.
Still, even a final record of 1-12 would register as a major accomplishment for a program which is still searching to find its footing in its own community.
"Even our own school, [people] sometimes are against us," Wakefield player DJ Johnson told the Connection. "We want them to support the lacrosse team [but] they don't really want to because of our record."
Added Gilman: "You'd be surprised. I wear a Wakefield lacrosse thing when I go to the gym [and] people are like, 'Wakefield's got a lacrosse team?'"
They do, and for once, they have a team that has a win to its name. Every team needs to start somewhere, and now, at long last, Wakefield appears to have a start.