As Sam Sees It

We live in a society that continues to worship absolute success and gives no value to those who finish anywhere but on top of the pile. “Losers” who finish second among numerous competitors are forgotten and even ridiculed for their failures. A society that doesn’t honor those who strive valiantly and do there best but finish somewhere short of the very best is simply wrong.

Second place finishers are worthy of honor and praise. Sometimes, lost place finishers are worth of admiration and praise. Only one team or person can be the “winner” regardless of how good all of the competitors are. Luck plays a factor and the “best” team is not always the winner.

A few weeks ago, a number of Winslow parents and grandparents drove to Blue Ridge High School in Lakeside to watch a Little League Softball Tournament. We saw an excellent Winslow team consisting of our daughters and granddaughters soundly defeated by an even better team from Taylor.

The Taylor girls were excellent in every phase of the game. Their pitcher was fast and accurate. Their hitters consistently made contact, handled the bat exceptional well and ran the bases with unbelievable speed and daring. Those were not the most impressive aspects of their game. That was a defense that was superior to most high school teams you will see play. They made all of the routine plays and quite a few of the spectacular variety. Absent running into an overpoweringly dominant pitcher, this team just may be unbeatable.

The Winslow girls had pitching not far behind that of Taylor, if any. The Winslow girls swung the bat about as well as their talented opponents. Our girls, though, did not field anywhere near as well as Taylor, nor did we run the bases with anything approaching their performances. Those two areas accounted for the difference between a first and a second place team.

Those two aspects of the game, defense and base running, are mostly not a matter of talent but of learning and practice. The plain fact is that the Taylor girls have had more experience and better competition than the Winslow girls have.

Our daughters and granddaughters will likely see the Taylor girls again many times over the next three or four years. They will be wearing the uniform of Snowflake High School. They will be tough competition.

They will not be unbeatable. We have equal talent (possibly better). We have not had equal experience and competitive experience. That will come. The two aspects of the game our girls need to work on most were pretty evident in that tournament, defense and aggressive base running.

Both of the teams deserve praise. They were quality athletes playing as hard as they could and doing the best they could with their God-given talents. There is honor for the Taylor girls in their victory. There is also honor for the Winslow girls in their second place finish. Both can hold their heads high and be proud of their efforts.

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