Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday Funday: True Leaders

While some of our political leaders have been acting like spoiled brats in Washington, displaying the worst of America's problems for the whole world to see, we've been proudly keeping our eyes on a group of Americans traveling the world, displaying the best of what makes us who we are.

It's our football team, or more appropriately, our "futbol" team, the U.S. Women's World Cup Soccer stars.

We understand that millions of Americans, especially men, are often stupidly scared of seeming less-than-manly by rooting for women's sports. Even if they secretly pay attention to the WNBA, or Michelle Wie of the LPGA, if their guy friends strike up a conversation about sports, they often steer the conversation away from "those girly things."

Of course, in Nebraska, we're used to rooting for our women, on and off the sports fields and courts. We've done that for years. Off the field, Nebraska had the first all-female race for Governor some 25 years ago. On the field, Nebraska volleyball is known across the country and around the world as consistently one of America's best programs. Nebraska softball and women's basketball have also become known for quality players who succeed. And Nebraska soccer - women's soccer - has a proud tradition of excellence as well.

As you can see, when you come from Nebraska, you get used used to having women excel as much or more than men.

We're incredibly proud of our U.S. Women's World Cup Soccer Team - and for those macho jocks who say they don't watch soccer, ESPN and the Neilsen Company can prove you're fibbing. The American Team's World Cup semi-final match earlier this week produced the best weekday ratings for any match - men's or women's - on ANY American television network in history.

The ratings for that semifinal match rank second in all Women's Wold Cup matches behind last weekend's U.S. win over Brazil in the quarterfinals. That's even better than when Mia Hamm led the U.S. team to gold in the 2004 Olympics.

What makes us most proud of how our U.S. World Cup Soccer Team is doing is that they are examples of what what we hope for all the young women we know - including the wee one that is the daughter of our editor, Amy.

The members of the U.S. team work hard, but they're not obnoxious. When others told them they wouldn't succeed, they didn't get in the faces of the critics and yell - they put their heads down and just went out and won. These young women - many of whom also have solid academic records and honors under their belts - haven't bragged, or boasted, or expected awards to come to them.

They have acted like adults. They have acted like professionals.

They have acted the way we think real leaders should act, on or off the field.

We know where we'll be this Saturday afternoon.

Listening or watching how real winners achieve victory.

If we're lucky, maybe our Congressional representatives in Washington will also be watching, so they might learn how to be real leaders too.

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