Picture Perfect Soccer

So today, I woke up and as usual began my morning routine operating pretty much on remote control because, for me, active brain function doesn’t begin until after the first cup of coffee. Part of my routine involves turning on the TV which is already tuned in to the morning news (Newsmax). I know, I just lost the CNN crowd but then, did I really have them?-)

Again, operating on remote control, I sat down to eat my simple breakfast, an everything-bagel with a schmear and a ten-ounce mug of coffee (high-test). Just as I was about to get up from the table and get my second mug, dormant brain function started to kick in and remote control setting gave way to actual awareness. Suddenly, the low drone of random garble, you know, the noise that the CNN audience (aka progressives) hears whenever a conservative tries to express an opinion. Well, suddenly that noise congealed into a report on the recent activities of our women’s Olympic soccer team in Tokyo.

Apparently, there are preliminary competitions that occur prior to the opening of the Olympic Games. I didn’t get all the particulars on that aspect of the report but before these competitions, as is tradition, the national anthem of each team is played. Our illustrious women’s soccer team chose to endear themselves to Middle America (the heartbeat of America) by taking a knee during our National Anthem. Newsmax showed the picture.

The report focused on the overall image this type of behavior portrays, not only in the United States but also, around the world. A truly valid point but that wasn’t where my mind went on the issue and here’s why.

The picture shows the team of highly trained and dedicated young women on an open soccer field taking a knee during the anthem. My eye focused on one girl in particular. She’s the one located middle-right in the picture and not only is she taking a knee but her head is lowered in subjugation.

Even though I wasn’t behind the wheel of my bus, I had a random (sarcastic) bus driver thought; how proud must her parents be. After all these years of sacrifice, both time and money, there’s our daughter on the world stage, standing up for what she believes in, or in this case, taking a knee. Then I made another bus driver mental leap.

Training for the Olympics and making the team is obviously a time-consuming endeavor that makes holding down a full-time job virtually impossible. Therefore, the likelihood that more than a few of these athletes might still live at home with Mom and Dad isn’t inconceivable, and may even be true of the woman in the middle.

If this young lady were my daughter I’d have a busy day ahead of me. First, I would have to cancel my Tokyo reservations, but only mine, not my wife’s. Then, I would order a storage container to be delivered ASAP. Next, I’d go shopping to pick up the boxes and packing supplies I needed. I would do this all without saying a word to my wife; because by now, after all these years, she knows not to expect one.

Having known me, and loved me, for longer than she would ever know or love our adult daughter, my wife would have a very important decision to make. She’d have to make it on her own and my prayers would be that she makes the right one. She knows the truth, our truth, because she lived it.

We spent a good portion of our lives doing the best job we could with one goal in mind, raise our daughter right. If we had succeeded, our daughter would’ve taken a knee with her teammates just as the others did to show solidarity. But as the Star-Spangled Banner began to play, our daughter would pick up her head; she would survey the field of players and realizing that she’d be alone, she would rise to her feet. Our daughter, my daughter, would stand at attention the way her father taught her to do. She would put her hand over her heart and with tears of honor for those in the past, duty for those in the present, and as an example for those in the future, she would not just mouth the words, she would sing the Star-Spangled Banner loud and clear.

At that moment, our adult daughter, no matter the outcome of the games, would come home to her father a Champion. Instead, her homecoming would happen at the end of a driveway in front of a fully packed storage container……  And people wonder why soccer, at least for men of my generation, remains an insignificant recreational activity.

Attention: NFL, MLB, NHL, and yes the NBA, their affiliates, and advertisers: our talk is coming soon. In the meantime, try to learn something from the Olympics that I won’t be watching.

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