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Winless for 7 straight seasons, Detroit ultimate frisbee team finds strength in perseverance

Frisbee team finds wisdom in record losing streak
Detroit ultimate frisbee team finds wisdom in record losing streak 02:54

Madison, Wisconsin — On a recent weekend, the Detroit Mechanix, a professional ultimate frisbee team, was getting ready for some exercise in futility. For try as they might, the Mechanix will almost certainly lose to the Madison Radicals.

The goal of ultimate frisbee to pass a disc down the field to score points. But you don't need to know how to play this sport to feel for this Mechanix team of the Ultimate Frisbee Association.

Over the last seven years they have lost every single game, the longest losing streak in U.S. professional sports history. The 78 straight losses have shattered the old record of 29 set in the 1940s by the Chicago Cardinals football team.

"There's not a lot of respect you get from playing for the Mechanix," one player told CBS News.

"Come on out, watch the team lose, why are they still around?" said another.

They're still around because team owner Brent Steepe refuses to give up. Steepe is also the head coach. He says he's thought of firing himself "multiple times."

"And I wish I could," Steepe said. "Nobody wants to step up and do this job."

So, every weekend May through July, Steepe and his players — who all have other jobs — carpool across the country to lose at the hands of someone new.

But as badly as the Mechanix want this streak to end, over the years they've also come to the profound realization that for every loss, there's a gain.

"It teaches you a lot of resiliency," one player said.

The growth continued during a game last weekend, when even in a loss, the team celebrated.

This is what happens when you measure success, not by winning, but by improving. The Machanix scored more points than in any other game all season, and they were thrilled just to be one step closer to the victory that they know awaits.

"Isn't that the greatest thing we can do, is give people something they can look back fondly on and say, 'I did that?'" Steepe said. "They're going to be unstoppable."

Perhaps, but for now, they're OK just being stoppable.

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