"It's not whether you get knocked down," American football coach Vince Lombardi said, "it's whether you get up. The real glory is being knocked to your knees and then coming back."
Warwickshire were knocked to their knees at Scarborough. They were more than beaten - they were, at times, humiliated.
As a result, the match that starts today will examine them on every level. As table toppers, Sussex will provide a stern test while the experience against Yorkshire will also mean a test of character. Those who shirk the fight may be surplus to demand by season's end.
Players out of contract in September include Lee Daggett, Navdeep Poonia, Nick James, Luke Parker, Tony Frost, Nick Warren, Adam Shantry, Nick Knight and Moeen Ali. Several are likely to depart. Some on longer-term deals could also be heading for the exit as Mark Greatbatch attempts to stamp his own imprint on the club.
Warwickshire went 29 first-class matches without a win between 1930 and 1931 and, in June 1983, ended a 45-month period without a Championship victory at Edgbaston. This slump amounts to small beer by comparison.
Yet the speed of decline remains worrying. This side won the Championship in 2004 and contested the final of the Cheltenham & Gloucester Trophy last year. The previous regime of John Inverarity and Nick Knight believed they had built a team that should be just reaching its peak yet Warwicksire are also-rans in oneday competitions and relegation candidates in the Champiosnhip. Where has it all gone wrong?
Warwickshire's director of coaching - Greatbatch - and chief executive - Colin Povey -face an 'informal forum' this evening (7.30, Tom Dollery Bar) and could be in for a testing night.
The pair could claim, with some justification, that they are simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Although the previous regime handed over a legacy of record profits and on-field success, they also passed on two years of projected heavy losses and a team in which the cracks were starting to show.
It is worth recalling last season's two-day Champion-ship defeat against Nottinghamshire, and innings losses against Kent, Hampshire and in the reverse fixture against
Notts. There were problems before this season.
The team over-performed in 2004. Inspirational captaincy by Knight, a little fortune with tosses and much steadfast batting perhaps led some into believing the strength in depth at the club was stronger than it appeared. The absence of Ian Bell and Brad Hogg (as a batsman) has spoken volumes about their contribution then.
Success also masked weaknesses in the attack. Warwickshire set a record in 2004 in terms of conceding more runs per wicket than any Championship-winning side. It should have been a warning. Instead of strengthening, however, Alan Richardson and Dewald Pretorius departed and were not adequately replaced.
Equally importantly, three key players have reached the final furlong in their magnificent careers. Heath Streak, Knight and Dougie Brown remain crucial yet none would claim they are anywhere near their peak. It takes time to groom successors for such players yet Greatbatch is starting almost from scratch in his search for replacements.
Inverarity was charged with looking after the first team only, thus a lack of attention was paid to the future. The second XI lost all but one championship match in 2005 and young players were not developed as much as they should have been.
The club failed to recruit top-quality additions. While some decent players were brought in (Alex Loudon, Daggett and Jimmy Anyon to name three), Ryan Sidebotton, Darren Gough, Andy Caddick, Jon Lewis, Graeme Swann, Min Patel, Luke Sutton and Carl Gazzard resisted the lure of Edgbaston.
Greatbatch has a far more extensive brief than Inverarity. The New Zealander is charged with improving coaching and scouting and, given time, his more thorough approach may bear fruit.
Some concerns remain. The body language on the field and some grumbles emanating off it suggest the manmanagement skills of this regime need some improvement. That a 14-man squad has been named for today's match suggests that Great-batch is no nearer deciding on his best XI. The buck stops with him.
Sussex have Mushtaq Ahmed and Yasir Arafat in their squad. Though they were said to be close to selection for Pakistan, Warwickshire were denied such a slice of fortune.