Cheyenne’s Post Six American Legion baseball team, the first Wyoming team to qualify for the Legion World Series, just beat the defending national champions in pool play to enter the medal round. This is a breaking story, so keep your eyes peeled for more results.
These young lads are doing themselves, their state and our national pastime proud! Al Davis, owner of the peripatetic Oakland Raiders, instilled in his team a single goal. “Just Win, Baby”.
Now, about our national women’s soccer team….
This year’s version of the US. National Women’s Soccer Team would have done themselves, and the nation that they represent, a solid if they had paid attention to Davis’ short sermon. As it stands, they are instead headed home after a lackluster performance and a quick exit from World Cup competition.
Adding insult to injury, the team is also suffering snarky criticism for using an international athletic event as a forum for making snarky political statements. Many critics, myself among them, have come to the conclusion that the team was more intent on scoring political points than goals.
They seemed to be satisfied with losing as long as they could get their politics displayed on television during their games.
Athletic competition doesn’t work that way, especially on an international platform. Winning demands intense dedication to the sport at hand. It demands sacrifice and pain. Winning demands working harder than the opponent, beginning with the first practice.
Winning requires denial of self in favor of team success. If an athlete permits personal political or sociological zeal to replace hard work and sacrifice, then said athlete will be rewarded with a participation trophy and a quick trip home.
America has a strange relationship with its elite athletes involved in worldwide competition. Even when an athlete wins a world championship but uses the victory to make a political statement, the nation turns a cold shoulder to them.
Cases in point include John Carlos and Tommie Smith flashing Black Power salutes on the podium during the “68 Olympics, and Muhammad Ali refusing the draft. There are other athletes who prevailed in their events, but lost the affection of the fans through mixing sport and politics.
If America treats its victors like that, what can losers who make similar political moves expect? The soccer gals are finding out as we speak.
If political correctness was as much a factor in athletic triumph as training and conditioning, then the USWNT would have been well-advised to forsake wind sprints and practicing penalty kicks for studying bel hooks and Howard Zinn in empowering political indoctrination chalk-talks.
Their performance suggests otherwise. Apparently, bowing heads and staying silent during the national anthem doesn’t result in more goals or better defense. Again, confirmed by their performance on the field.
Politics and sports don’t mix well, and the result is often weird and cringy. Political correctness is a poor substitute for training, discipline and single-minded pursuit of victory.
And victory is the sole reason for competition.
So, good luck to the Cheyenne Sixers in the Legion World Series.
And to our women soccer players, regroup and rededicate yourselves to the reason you are athletes. Practice harder, protest less. Get your heads back in the game, not on headlines.
Leave the politics to folks who are a lot better at it than you are, and forget about scoring points with identity groups who might look at you as their champions while the world looks at you like spoiled losers.
Just win, Baby!