We're all winners! Not exactly

Nov 19, 2017 By Scott Akanewich, Sports Editor

Let's get one thing straight, people.

We're not all winners.

Although that's what our young people are largely being taught these days as they work their way up the athletic ladder.

Ironic is the fact this modern-day, warm-and-fuzzy approach is meant to foster good feelings and make sure said feelings of all the young sparkies out there aren't hurt and their individual psyches irreparably damaged as a result.

Now, I'm no psychologist and without sounding like one of those "back-in-my-day" old-time curmudgeons, I grew up just fine and completely mentally-sound (although it might depend who you ask on that one) after playing on teams when it was still perfectly fine for coaches to actually yell at you if you made a mistake.

A novel concept, I know -- although somewhat shocking in this day and age.

In fact, as a nine-year-old Little Leaguer, I had a coach who was a U.S. Navy noncommissioned officer in his day job and took no nonsense from anyone, whether it be his sailors or his pint-sized baseball players.

After one particularly-disgraceful display during practice one day, he let loose with "You're playing like a bunch of girls!"

Now, that got our attention in a hurry -- and it was 1979, so political-correctness was long from being in vogue -- but, it certainly worked.

Good training for my time as a U.S. Army soldier many years later.

Truth be told, nobody ever goes through the biggest game of all -- that being the one called life -- either undefeated or winless.

All of us are winners and losers at various times in our respective existences, sometimes fluctuating from one moment to the next.

But, these "millennials" are having none of this old-school, dark-ages nonsense.

We're all winners and we all go out for ice cream -- with sprinkles -- win or lose.

Well, let me ask you this.

If indeed, we're all winners, why do we keep score?

Shut off the scoreboard and let's save some electricity in the process.

How about that -- a double-win!

Wait a minute -- maybe we are all winners, after all.

Hmm ... let me think about it.


Now, don't get me wrong.

When we're down as far as the Little League level, for example, I'm not promoting such a hardcore approach because at that point, it's not all about winning, but it certainly goes a long way toward those life lessons we all know sports are such a great teacher of.

After all, one learns far more about life and bouncing back from adversity from losing than winning.

But, how can we learn those lessons if we never lose?

I've covered a lot of youth baseball games during my time here in Fremont County, at the Little League, Babe Ruth and American Legion levels and I don't know how many times little Johnny has made a mistake and almost without fail, a voice will cascade from the grandstands -- you know, something along the lines of "Don't worry about it" or "It's okay."

No, really, it's not.

I'm not saying to berate youngsters, by any means.

Just don't say anything.

If said sparky strikes out with the bases loaded or fails to execute a simple fundamental like sliding into home plate and is tagged out standing up, it's not okay!

Instead, we continue to see the same mistakes made over and over again as a result as if there are no consequences or repercussions.

Which, of course, there aren't.


Because we're all winners, of course.

Not just to single out Little League because we see it at all levels up to and including high school and even collegiate competition.

What would the founding fathers of our country think? After all, America certainly wasn't built on "We're all winners."

Yes, this extends far beyond the relatively insignificant realm of sports. How did we even become a free country in the first place? By winning a pretty big game against the British a couple centuries ago.

In closing, we'll quote former NFL player and coach Herm Edwards, who once famously ranted during a press conference meltdown while head coach of the New York Jets.

"You play to win the game! Hello! You play to win the game!"

Wait a minute, perhaps we're getting a bit carried away. On second thought, maybe we can meet halfway in the name of harmony.

OK, ice cream for everyone! But, only winners get sprinkles.

Three stars

Still no high school action to speak of, as we're currently between seasons at the local prep level, but the college ballers are going strong.

No. 3

Rylee Burmester,

Central Wyoming College,


The former Lady Brave of Star Valley continues to improve every game after trading volleyball shoes for basketball sneakers.

Burmester scored 16 points and pulled down eight rebounds in the Lady Rustlers' 94-68 Friday night beatdown of Mountain States Elite, then followed that up with a 23-point, nine-rebound performance against the same enemy in a 74-59 Saturday victory.

Well done.

No. 2

Irshaad Hunte,

Central Wyoming College,


The man from Canada simply known as "Iggy" has made our list for the second week on the bounce, with a strong 22-point, eight-rebound effort in the Rustlers' 87-82 road loss to Western Nebraska Community College on Friday, Central's first and only defeat of the young season so far.

It certainly wasn't his fault, as Hunte continues to lead the Rustlers in both scoring and rebounding.


No. 1

Paulani Tarawa,

Central Wyoming College,


Tarawa proved to be a more-than-capable running mate for Burmester in the pair of Rustlers routs, posting a double-double on Friday, with 26 points and 10 rebounds, then 16 and five on Saturday.

Very cool, indeed.

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