By Andy Weddington
Wednesday, 10 July 2019
Winners are different. They're a different breed of cat. - Byron Nelson
In his game afield, Byron Nelson did not kick balls. To do so would have been ungentlemanly, unsportsmanlike, and, besides, against the rules.
Rather, he smacked balls with sticks.
A champion, he knew something about the lay of our land.
And, different, he knew something about the winner breed of cat.
The last time I watched a soccer game was at least thirty years ago. Probably closer to forty.
And that was live late in the afternoon from an uncomfortable wood bleacher aside a field sometimes lined for football and baseball.
Five and six year old boys, the players. Parent coaches.
Who won was irrelevant (at least to me).
What I fondly remember was not little boys kicking balls but one boy - far from the action - who decided to do somersaults and otherwise entertain himself using a stick to dig in the dirt looking for insects.
He ignored his mother pleas to pay attention to the game.
He was living the moment. Happy.
And I remember the sportsmanship.
Today that boy probably has children of his own. Possibly grandchildren.
I wonder if they inherited his soccer field prowess?
This morning a friend posted to social media a letter from America (a thoughtful and factual history lesson) addressed to American soccer player Megan Rapinoe; whom I'd not heard of until last week.
I read the letter because my friend, a level-headed patriot and retired Marine, so recommended.
Too, he coached girls youth soccer teams for years.
He led those girls. He was demanding. He taught those girls commitment, responsibility, respect, teamwork, personal conduct, courage - moral and physical, sportsmanship, and much more.
They are certainly better young women today for his no nonsense lessons and leadership.
The women's World Cup soccer game I did not watch. Not out of protest but for lack of interest and indifference about Megan Rapinoe.
So her contempt toward America known to me only through media.
A few thoughts for Megan Rapinoe and anyone disgruntled and unhappy in America ...
Somersaults and using a stick to dig in the dirt looking for insects are healthy ways to productively use time and burn off energy.
Play for a demanding but fair coach. Suggest your children and grandchildren play for a demanding but fair coach.
Ignorance and immaturity telling. So is telling misbehavior, being disrespectful, and poor sportsmanship. Therefore, pointless, one's not a star.
Uncle Sam affords all opportunity to kick balls elsewhere - in and for a land in sync with that field of dreams. Farewell. Best wishes. Good luck. Net gain, America. Goal!