Being part of four champions with the San Diego Sockers back in the days of the Major Indoor Soccer League, Blast midfielder Paul Wright is fully qualified on the subject of winning titles.
Ask him, and he'll run off a list of the requirements.
Talent is first. Then comes familiarity within the team. Hard work is a must, with everyone pulling for the same cause. And, finally, a team needs game-by-game, week-by-week improvement throughout the long season.
Even with all of that checked off, there's still no guarantee.
"It's one of those things where you just never know until you're there - in that fifth or seventh game of a championship final and everything is on the line," Wright said.
"Until you're in that spot, you just never know. But it's definitely worth working for, to find out."
The Blast, with a plan outlined three seasons back, when Kevin Healey became general manager-coach with new franchise ownership, is certainly curious as it opens its season at Baltimore Arena tonight against the Kansas City Attack.
Coming off a 26-18 regular season and a trip to the American Conference finals, the team returns nearly intact and has added a quality forward in Lee Tschantret to put itself in position to achieve that ultimate goal.
"We want to win the championship," Healey said. "It's a continuation of things. We're just trying to take what we've done and refine it to make it better."
With Denison Cabral, Mark Thomas and Tschantret - all 100-plus point scorers last season - joined by Wright and Tarik Walker, the Blast should once again be explosive on offense.
Team defense continues to be a priority, starting with goalkeeper Scott Hileman, captain Lance Johnson, and a strong group that returns intact.
The Blast will continue to roll three players at just about every position to wear down opponents and win the fourth-quarter battles. Success on the road is another must.
"We've seen that we can win," Johnson said. "We have the ability to score goals. Our main challenge is going to be team defense, and we've seen if we all commit to that we can be successful."
It was the losing times last season that let Healey learn most about the character of his group.
The Blast was able to shrug off a midseason slump, and after an embarrassing, 28-18 loss to the Cleveland Crunch at home in the conference finals opener, the team battled to the end at Cleveland before falling, 25-22.
"We hadn't reached where we wanted to be to win the championship, but we built the winning mentality," Healey said. "I go back to the Cleveland series, when our backs were against the wall in that last game. We plugged very hard, played a solid game, and came out on the wrong end of the score. But it wasn't because we didn't play well. That made me feel good."
Getting past the Crunch remains the major concern before the Blast can think about playing in the championship round.
After losing to the Milwaukee Wave in the finals, the Crunch decided it was time to get younger. Three veteran players - including the league's all-time leader in assists, Zoran Karic - were not brought back.
The difficult task of matching up against the Crunch is no longer as difficult for the Blast.
The new season has a sense of urgency for Blast defender Doug Neely, who returned to Baltimore when Healey arrived and has been around the indoor game 16 years.
He's reached the semifinals nine times and also has played in more than his share of all-star games.
At 35, he'll tell you he's not sure how many years he has left.
"Years back, you're saying, `OK, I still got time.' Well, not much time is left now," he said. "The one reason I'm still playing is to win a championship in Baltimore. I wouldn't be playing anywhere else."