This week held two events that served to sharpen my resolve. I think the metaphorical values of both are a game changer indeed.
You may not be a soccer fan. Most likely, you are not. But it doesn’t matter this week, not really, because if you are a proud American, you will be a soccer fan this week. No way around it! I admit, I am a diehard and sometimes fanatical soccer fan, having played it in Europe while growing up and watched every match of importance since before I had teeth. As a matter of fact, my girlfriends used to ask if they could come over to our house on Saturday afternoons when my dad would be watching the game of the week on our little TV. It was a theater to behold as he kicked and screamed from his TV chair. So, I guess I am no less emotional, and this past weekend it flowed over as Team USA beat Brazil in the comeback of the century at the Women’s FIFA World Cup.
I have to confess, even my kids thought I went a bit overboard, screaming at the TV and dancing in our little living room out here on the American prairie. Hollywood could not have written the script; as Team USA pulled off a victory by equalizing in the stoppage time of the final overtime (that would be like the mother of all overtimes, never heard of at this level), and then forcing a penalty kick off where they stood steel strong and mentally beat the opposition! Now this happened during a game where ALL the odds were stacked as heavily against the team as they possibly can get in soccer — refereeing that had the whole world booing in favor of the USA, one player less on the field, playing against the media’s favorite team (sound familiar?), and having lack of support from home (apathy). Yet, we won!
To paraphrase the striker who scored the overtime goal, “This is what we do, who we are as a nation.” Wow, she gets it. American exceptionalism in practice, even though it is “just” soccer. I have to tell you, I needed that game as much as I needed a B12 vitamin shot. The ladies on that team lifted me and America once again with total dedication to the team, pouring themselves out on the field against the leg cramps, the dirt, the exhaustion, and the idea that all was lost. They played as a team, yet each player fulfilled their part and more. In soccer, every player has a very distinct role and talent, just like we all do in life.
The other event is personal, but still plays a role for each of us. I lost a dear old friend as she went to be with the Lord. She was in her eighties, so no sorrow for her, as she has finished her race. And what a race she ran. She was the equivalent of a Mother Theresa here in our small community as she labored tirelessly for the unborn children and their families. She rose early each morning, year after year, laboring in prayer for hours on end with over 500 names on her prayer list. And she raised a huge family — and I mean huge! She was a true warrior, and at the end she was all worn out, but smiling! She is at home, but I selfishly miss her. She was the midfielder on our team, if you will, and that is a key role. Without her, it will be harder for sure, but we will prevail!
We are on the field against all odds in America today, playing with what feels like one man down and against a formidable enemy. We are facing a leader in the White House that is firmly against unborn children’s right to life, a breakdown of the cornerstone of society — the traditional family structure — a national debt that is purposefully being enlarged by an agenda that intends to leave America weakened on all fronts, an addiction to self service and entitlements to serve that addiction, and an overall apathy from many who refuse to see the needed sacrifices we must all make to turn around the momentum of the game.
We do not have a referee (media) that plays justly, and powers like the U.N. are slowly encroaching on each American’s individual freedoms with every unconstitutional treaty signed. Oh, the list can go on and on, but you have likely heard it all. It is time to get on the field and play!
We are on the field to win; that is what we do in America; we fight injustice and win. It may take a while, but we win. It is just that we all need to play our part, use our God-given talents, and join the team. Will America once again see that “God sheds His grace on thee”? Will we rise to be that “shining light on the hill”? Will we restore the constitutional principles placed within our hands by Providence?
Let us learn from Team USA and from my dear old friend. It takes hard work, often in a lonely place without fanfare, and it takes dedication and sacrifice. And it will cause pain and exhaustion, unfairness, and even sometimes deep wounds, but we can never, ever, ever give up! Like President Theodore Roosevelt so famously said:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
We are Team USA; find your position, stay focused and let’s get to work!
Janne Myrdal serves as State Director for Concerned Women for America of North Dakota.