Penn State – Iowa: Thoughts on the Relationship between Failure and Success

Penn State beat Iowa 3-1. Not 3-0. 3-1. This will result in much consternation among a certain segment of Nittany Lion fans, and perhaps hope among volleyball fans of other schools: if Iowa, at Rec Hall, why not us? Who knows what it portends, but one thing we know: these are highly dedicated, talented young women, and we appreciate their efforts. We hope, because we are fans, that they will be able to muster the focus, and enthusiasm, and energy to achieve their goals. Time will tell.

In the meantime, we’ve been thinking about how different people deal with failure — losing a game in a volleyball match, for instance — and how learning from failure can, in fact, contribute to future success. One reaction to failure is the “meltdown,” which some people may imagine is happening right now in Happy Valley. DigNittanyVolleyball’s crack team of statisticians and researchers managed to locate exclusive video of how that might look:

On the other hand, when the dust settles from the Iowa match, there may be another reaction to the loss of a set. While order may not be fully restored in the universe, a more nuanced view may emerge: we can learn from this loss, and do better in the future. Such is the inextricable relationship between failure and success and how some individuals have the passion to learn from the first to achieve the second. Here’s Michael Jordan on that topic: