Gotta Stamp out streak

PAUL FRIESEN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 9:30 AM ET

Wes Lysack was talking about snowballs yesterday. The kind of snowballs that form in July.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers safety is all too familiar with this type of phenomenon, having spent the better part of the last two CFL seasons in the foothills.

"We had a couple pretty bad ones in Calgary the last couple of years," Lysack was saying. "And I don't want to see that happen here at all."

Lysack wasn't talking about freak weather patterns.

His fear is of another football season snowballing its way downhill, picking up steam and size all the way, until it finally smashes into pieces at the bottom.

The results can be devastating: a 4-14 season in Calgary last year, 5-13 the year before.

Each one of those disasters started with one, innocent loss, followed by another. Then another. By the time the thing got rolling, it was too late to stop.

"A lot of things happen," Lysack recalled. "People start to lose confidence. People start to push every panic button possible, coaches and players. When that starts happening, that's pretty scary."

Which brings us to Lysack's current team, the victim of two pretty scary losses to open the season.

After coming out of the gate cold as ice against Saskatchewan and marginally better versus Edmonton, the Bombers will try to nip this thing in the bud against the Stampeders, here, tomorrow night.

Safe to say the home team needs a win like Manitoba farmers need some sunshine.

I mean, another bad loss and this group could be on a downward spiral into August. Just take a look at the schedule: after Calgary, the Bombers play the Eskimos, Montreal and Toronto -- two of the three on the road.

Talk about running the gauntlet.

For the record, Lysack is confident the Bombers are equipped to handle it.

"Because we've got a good nucleus of players, and a good thing going here, I think," he said. "We've just got to believe in ourselves, believe in what we're doing, and just fight through it."

You get the impression there aren't too many outside that locker-room who believe.

Put another way, the average fan has not only found the panic button, he's raised his fist over it, ready to slam it down based on what happens against the Stamps.

Head coach Jim Daley will have none of it, though.

Ask him about needing a win to legitimize what he's doing, and he'll tell you straight up: "That's B.S."

"I would make a serious error if I thought one win legitimizes the process we're trying to go through," the Bomber boss said. "That masks stuff, sometimes."

In fact, Daley prefers not to focus on the idea of winning at all, which sounds preposterous, we know.

His theory: focus on performance, and the scoreboard will take care of itself.

"Wins are vital ... to keep people confident and focused on where you're going," Daley said. "But we'll get to where we're going fastest ... if we concentrate on performance. If you're totally focused on outcome, you forget, sometimes, the detail of performance."

Daley doesn't even agree with the notion his team's psyche is fragile.

"That's a nice story, but I don't sense it," he said. "We're not looking for fragile people. We're looking for tough people. Period."

That sounds good, but the fact is two lopsided losses to open a season would damage any team's confidence, particularly one with so many question marks going in.

Eventually, the snow starts to stick. Whether it's after three, four or five games, who knows?

"I don't know how a snowball effect happens, as far as losing," Lysack said. "But I know what stops it."

I think we can all agree on that.

But if you can't stop it on a hot Thursday in July, I'm not sure I like your chances.


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