Cornthwaite’s Corner: Winning is a habit, but so is losing

Rather than sound like a broken record this week, I thought I’d mix it up. 

Anyone who’s ever grown up wanting to be a professional athlete has dreamt about scoring a last-minute screamer, saving a penalty, or lifting the trophy in front of 50,000+ fans, but the reality is that for the majority of athletes, none of them will ever win anything. 

I played professional football for more than a decade and was thankful to have tasted some success. And by some, I mean very little.

I won the Malaysian Cup with Selangor, which was by far the biggest win of my career, but outside of that, I won a preseason tournament and an A-League Premier Plate. Only one team gets to win each year, and the rest walk away with nothing. 

The majority of players careers will be spent battling it out, trying to survive in the midtable or the lower leagues in Europe, fighting for survival. In Australia, players are more concerned with how they get to the next level and out of here than fighting for their place or turning things around. 

When a team goes through an extended run of poor form, it’s not easy. Confidence drops, and it can be really hard to change what’s become a habit. They say winning is a habit, but so is losing. 

There’s always been a solid togetherness at Adelaide United under Carl Veart, and they need to draw on that more than ever. Players who aren’t playing need to keep fighting and pushing for their place. There’s no place for people to start complaining or become someone negative that brings the whole team down. 

Everyone’s spoken at length about what a young team Adelaide is, but they also have a hell of a lot of experience. It’s up to these boys to continue driving the standards and not let anyone cut corners. It’s now time to see who really has the mental strength to stand up and make a difference when the chips are down. 

As a player, it’s tough, and it’s embarrassing when you’re playing for a side that can’t win a game. People look up to footballers, but it’s no fun telling people you play for a team that’s languishing at the bottom of the table. It doesn’t quite have the same cut-through. 

I remember going through a really difficult period in South Korea; the team wasn’t winning and I wasn’t playing. I was in a foreign country, isolated with just my thoughts for most of the day. It’s really hard to get motivated to turn up every day and give 100{9316bdc8926ea12fd3218e9df0be06a03991e545af91e98c723bc822f5d4d102}. But you have no other option. 

The players and staff at the Reds know what they are capable of and have played some breathtaking football, all be it a few months ago now. It might feel all doom and gloom right now, but it could be just one moment, one win away from turning it around. Fans or people in the media can say whatever they like; it’s their job to give an opinion, but the only one that matters is the one of the players. What do they believe? If you think you won’t, then you won’t. 

Anyone can do anything in life when it’s easy, but the ones who can do it when it’s hard are the only ones who matter. 

Follow Robbie on Twitter and Instagram.