After Sonoma State’s 2-1 loss to Ouachita Baptist on Friday, Seawolves coach
John Goelz was clearly dejected, but his smile, even if it was a little forced, remained intact.

During the postgame press conference, he spotted me and said, “You flew a long way to see four hits. How dumb are you?” (Answer: Somewhat. But I’ve always wanted to see Sauget in late May.) When he was asked if he recognized the moment when his team began shifting from unbeatable to eliminated, he offered a self-deprecating answer, “I don’t know what that moment was. If I knew what that moment was I’d be a lot better coach. Maybe I’d have been (to the College World Series) a few more times than I’ve been here.”

Immediately after the final out, Goelz sought out Ouachita Baptist’s coaches and offered congratulations. As he left the press conference, he stood up and said, “Everyone has been great here. Thank you all very much. We had a great experience here. I really appreciate it.”

The point? Goelz is classy. He has perspective. He is fiercely competitive, but he doesn’t feel losses give him license to act like a jerk.

Sonoma State didn’t win Friday, but its players got a lesson in how to lose with grace and dignity. Not all teams are so fortunate.