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July 1, 2014

Blather from Brazil

Harry M. Covert

Let us re-examine today the matter of winning. At least for this one time to discuss the alleged craze of “futbol” versus real All-American football, which supposedly has the attention of sports fans and all “real Americans.”


The disturbing fact to this bureau is winning seems not to be The Thing. It should be. I succumbed to last week’s business of watching the U.S. battle Portugal to a draw, a tie, in Brasil, I mean Brazil. Seems like all of the sporting experts extolled the virtues of how the draw was a good thing. It allowed the U.S. team to advance to another round.


It was fun watching all the futbol-lers running up and down, most of the time rather lackluster, not seeming to be in a hurry to score goals or kicks on goals. The unknown players didn’t seem to be in a hurry, not to win mind you, but to hold off a defeat and settle for a tie.


Frederick has recently gone through some political battles. None of the participants seemed to be willing to settle for a defeat, a loss.


Vince Lombardi, legendary football coach and champion, set the stage for all competitors. His banner in most locker rooms is this:


“Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all the time thing. You don’t win once in a while; you don’t do things right once in a while; you do them all of the time. Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing. There is no room for second place. There is only one place in my game, and that’s first place.”


Charles G. Driesell, the great University of Maryland basketball coach known everywhere as “Lefty,” said, and I heard it: “A tie is like kissing your sister.” The lefthander was a fantastic coach and recruiter and is the man who changed the Terrapins from losers to champions – by winning.


It is a bother to see acceptance of such blather from Brazil that lazing about for a tie is a championship way of life. Forgive this possible impertinence. Imagine all of the high schools and recreational leagues in Frederick County teaching the boys and girls to accept ties and not winning? There are many out there beating the bushes to grow soccer as America’s favorite sport. Sounds good to some but, a gentle reminder, but it “ain’t so.” At least at this point in time.


I’m prejudiced, of course, even as a sports fan of many years. The United States, all of the 50 state and territories, didn’t become boundless in every way by losing. A winning attitude is vital in every walk of life, love, marriage, politics, governing, churches and the whole shebang out there.


It may be time to make the “speech of speeches” relevant in the curriculum in every school, public, private and religious. We can delete the irreverent words, but the meanings are what’s important from “old blood and guts” himself, General George S. Patton.


Just read:


“Americans love to fight ... All real Americans love the sting and clash of battle … real men and all real men like to fight. When you … were kids, you all admired the champion marble player, the fastest runner, the toughest boxer, the big league ball players, and the All-American football players. Americans love a winner. Americans will not tolerate a loser. Americans despise cowards. Americans play to win all of the time. I wouldn't give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That's why Americans have never lost nor will ever lose a war; for the very idea of losing is hateful to an American.”


The German coaching the American “futbol” team in Brazil may need to read this to his team daily.


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