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By Jesse Utz 

One trophy, one winner, U.S.A.

Jess Shut Up


There are winners and losers, plain and simple. Yes, we have altered our youth sports over the years to develop a mentality of, “If I just participate, I will get a trophy like everyone else.” But that is not reality. Yes, we want the warm fuzzies for our kids; we must make them feel adequate and encourage them, but we cannot all be winners.

The rough truth is that as our kids grow up they will be measured and tested and evaluated and put on a list and ranked. School will start keeping a class order, sports will be measured by wins and losses, the state will tell them as a group where they rank and employers will scour over their applications and grade them there too. They won’t all be valedictorian or state champs, they won’t all get the best job either, but that is not the end of the road. Hard work, dedication and putting in 110 percent effort does pay off.

By now, you know that the U.S. women’s soccer team won the championship in the Worlds Cup tourney over the weekend, beating Japan in impressive fashion. It was an impressive victory to watch and in a way brought a country together that is fractionated as we speak on every level. On Independence Day weekend, the U.S.A. claimed victory again and brought home not only the gold but a newfound pride for a nation. We came together and not only cheered for a sport we have only come to love over the past decade, but as the final seconds ticked off we embraced a team of women that conquered a huge mountain, a team that put their lives on hold, a team that put in more hours than we will ever know, a team that was not perfect but was perfect enough on this one day, at the right hour, with the right ball spin and the right kick.

These girls are winners, they got the biggest win in their sport. Their Super Bowl Trophy. Besides an Olympic Gold, this cup is a very big deal. I cannot help but wonder about the road that brought them there, to this moment. This I do know. It was full of sacrifice, hard work, commitment and winning. You do not get to this level without somewhere along the line having someone tell you and teach you the importance of winning. Yes, they probably lost too and that was where the hard lessons are learned. No warm fuzzies there, just the hard truth that you need to do better if you want the win.

You see, those tears that fell from the faces of the players, family, coaches and loved ones after the game was won were not just a happy time tear. Those were the tears of accomplishment, the tears of victory, tears paid for with a large price tag attached.

So the U.S.A. conquered a foe on the soccer field. As those ladies celebrated their well-deserved victory I could not help but think back to our veterans, in all wars from the very first to our current events, who leaked some water from their eyes, as well. They also have had this motto engraved in their heads: Winning is the only thing. Sacrifice for a Country. Freedom or Give me Death. I will bleed Red, White and Blue. Old Glory.

In my mind, these ladies represent what freedom really is, what our veterans fought for and died for. Freedom is hard work but worth every bead of sweat dropped, every drop of blood spilled and every tear shed. We must cherish what our founding fathers put together not so long ago. A declaration of freedom, of independence. We must remember what exactly we were fighting for and what those simple words actually meant.

The wins matter. Good job girls, thank you veterans and God Bless America.

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