Winning is a state of mind…so is losing. One state pretty much ensures at least some measure of success; the other guarantees failure.
If you are my Facebook friend (and I hope you are), you know by now that Rickey and I are huge football fans. With my three brothers, our son, four grandsons, and a slew of nephews, it’s just a given. Then, once we have packed away the pigskin gear, Ric and I move right into basketball without missing a beat, and it was thinking about this transition that caused me to stop and reflect on winning and losing and life and the future of our towns, and cities, and ultimately, our country.
I was a Comanche Maiden, coached by Leta Andrews, now the winningest coach in the nation, and we started every year with our eyes on the state tournament. Now, we did not win state, at least not in basketball; the silver was the best we brought home, but the thing is that we competed for state honors.
Were we that good? I doubt it, but I do know that we didn’t have enough sense to wonder that back then. Our coach told us we would be playing in the state tournament so we assumed we would be playing in the state tournament, and we did.
For over twenty years the Comanche Maidens continued to win, making the playoffs year after year. They won when they should not have won; they won when they were not the strongest team on the court; they won simply because they did not know how to lose, plain and simple. They were Comanche Maidens.
In the past few years, the Aledo Bearcats football team (of which three of my nephews were a part) brought a state football trophy back to Aledo, Texas for five out of six years in a row. These three boys have never known anything else because their varsity stints all consisted of state wins, and I am ashamed to tell you that at the first of every one of those seasons, Rickey and I whispered that “we can’t do it again.”
In fact, we are amazed each year at the fans, parents, etc. who talk about “when we win state this year…”
I’m ashamed to remember how many times Rickey and I have shaken our heads, thinking how naïve these people are because they don’t understand things “as well as we do.”
And yet, today five (plus one from ’98) state trophies sit on a shelf in Aledo High School.
I honestly believe it is because those boys didn’t know how to do anything else. They set their eyes on the goal, and they believed they could do it even when the media outlets and the experts around the state said it couldn’t be done.
Now…travel back with me to December of 1620 and the docking of the Mayflower with 102 passengers, many of whom had left their country illegally. It was an unbelievably cold winter, and over half of these people were dead within months. Build a new country from this pitiful beginning?
Move 150 years forward and you will find that while a lot of progress had been made since 1620, this country consisted of only a few colonies with no real central government, no standing army, no real way to raise revenue, and the greatest army in the world breathing down its neck. Whispers of revolution began to be heard in every hamlet and village in the colonies.
And yet, it couldn’t be done…but they did it…
Ninety years or so into the future we were at it again. I will always believe that up until today, the decade of the 1860s stands as the single most horrible decade this country has ever seen. Americans slaughtered Americans by the tens of thousands. North, South, Black, White, there was no way to put the country back together again.
It couldn’t be done…but they did it…
By the 1940s, the world was ablaze with its second world war. The United States remained outside of the conflict for some years before entering after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
Little known to most Americans was the fact that we were unbelievably ill-prepared for war. In fact Americans would have been terrified to know exactly how pitiful our military resources were at that point in time; however, President Roosevelt used the radio to make his Fireside Chats public, and he reassured his country that we WOULD rise to the occasion once again.
We raised Victory Gardens; we dealt with rations, and all over the country Rosies took up the hammer, filled the classrooms, and simply took up the slack left by men who were fighting the war. We helped each other, saluted our flag, and honored our servicemen and women.
Technically, we should not have been able to do it…but we did it…
We were Americans, and AMERICANS did not lose, and that state of mind ensured our success as a country for centuries. Today, I guess I’m not so sure.
I see apologists in the media, telling the rest of the world how awful we are, how many we have mistreated, and how sorry we should be for being Americans. I see the protestors who no longer believe in Capitalism and who believe the wealth of the country should be divided and given to all, whether “all” has worked for it or not.
I see those who believe that the top half of the country should take care of the bottom half, and I see those who no longer love the name Christmas, wanting it taken out of our vocabulary…and I am left to think and to wonder my own thoughts.
Is winning still an American state of mind?
And what about our cities and towns, and since most of us have a vested interest in Texas, what about small town Texas? Have we lost our gumption? Do we sit down and lose because we are already defeated in our minds? I’m afraid that is the case in many of our small towns, where negativity does its best to choke out every positive possibility, and yet, there are those small towns who continue to survive and even thrive.
Somehow, they do it when we all know “it can’t be done.”
The answer is relatively easy. The workers in those towns are Comanche Maidens, Aledo Bearcats, and people determined to build a New World out of a wilderness. The workers in those successful small towns fought a Revolution and they sewed a tattered, war-torn country back together again. The people who are making their small Texas town work won a World War that should never have been won.
Why? Because they don’t understand that they can’t do it; they don’t know that small towns are supposed to be allowed to wither away and finally die. Those poor, ignorant people are making a success of their town because they are complete and total fools, bless their poor ignorant hearts.
And my thoughts on the whole thing would be, “God, please send us some fools!”