It only took Ryley Batt 19 years to learn, but after Australia's mixed 2022 Canada Cup wheelchair rugby campaign earlier this month he will never take any future team training sessions for granted.
The Steelers finished the tournament with a losing ratio although a double-overtime 65-64 win over Denmark in their final game provided them with cause for optimism.
Batt said their two-win, three-loss record from five games highlighted how things have changed for the team in recent years.
"It's really weird to hear because after the last 12 years we've mainly never lost in these comps or we might lose a game or two so to lose more games than we win is a very different story for us," he said.
"But that's part of team sport. That's part of growing and bringing new blood into the team.
"I will never, ever take any team training sessions for granted anymore. It's a privilege to play for Australia and play in a team environment, but I think sometimes you take it for granted."
It was a different story on the Gold Coast at the weekend when Batt's New South Wales team won all five games to take out the 2022 Wheelchair Rugby National Championship.
The Gladiators' 65-56 win over Queensland Cyclones in the gold medal match saw them claim back-to-back national titles.
"It was great to get out on that court and experience the high level of competition again; we've missed it," Batt said.
The Australians, however, are still behind the eight-ball ahead of the 2022 Wheelchair Rugby World Championships which will take place at Vejle, Denmark on October 10.
With a strong run of consistent tournaments and training camps to come over the next three months they will have few excuses not to be challenging for the title.
The Steelers have featured in the gold medal match at every World Championships event since 2010, taking victory in 2014.
"We're still off that podium spot at the moment, but I believe by the time world champs comes around later in the year we will be back in podium contention," Batt said.
"We've got a lot of tournaments coming up and we've got a lot of training camps coming up."
Batt admitted the team had to be realistic even though "it sucks [to lose] and we want to win everything".
"No-one remembers who wins the Canada Cup, they remember who wins Paralympics and World Championships," he said.
"We've been Paralympic champions many times, we've been World Champions and we finished on the podium pretty much at every major tournament from 2007 to 2020 when we were in the top two."
The captain acknowledged it wasn't time to panic yet.
Australia has had minimal Canada Cup success over the years with the focus on using it as a stepping stone to future successes.
That outlook hasn't changed.
"We knew Canada was going to be hard and we expected those results but what we wanted to see out of Canada was improvement as a team," Batt said.
"As the tournament went on we ramped up and we didn't get to beat the likes of Japan, but we managed to run with them until the fourth quarter even without a full-strength team."
Batt said the Steelers were now aiming to again reach the regular heights of success they achieved pre-COVID at the world championships later in the year.
They also know, however, that it's not going to come easily.
"It's going to be a tough challenge for us, but we're up for it," he said.
"We know we can beat a lot of the teams we lost to in Canada and we know we'll be a lot better team."
The Steelers will head to Denmark and Italy in a couple of weeks for a training hub before they then compete in Denmark at a tournament that will act as a warm-up to the world championships.
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