Win or lose, champs will earn respect

Published 8:09 pm Thursday, July 29, 2010

Champions are made in victory and in defeat.

That may sounds contradictory, but most successful adults will tell you that lessons learned on the field can be life-altering. And, if those lessons are the right ones, they can help shape the character and integrity of young men and women at their most formative years. So facing challenges, rising to them and learning to handle success as well as losses, are the moments that shape the players in sports and in their lives.

In recent weeks, dozens of young men and women from Troy have shown their true grace and character on the field, as they represented their hometown in baseball and softball championship tournaments.

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On Wednesday, the Troy Dixie Minor 9- and 10-year-old team members lost a heart-breaking game in the semi-final round of the state tournament, before a hometown crowd. They played admirably, with great sportsmanship and determination, throughout their tournament.

As did the Dixie Belles, who lost the second game of a two-game championship battle by one run in their quest to be state champions. It was a heart-breaker for these young ladies, who had rallied together as a team to reach the championship game.

The 14-year-old Dixie Boys, many of whom had played on the 13-year-old team that won the World Series in 2009, failed to make it to the finals of the state tournament, but they played with grit and heart throughout both district and state tournaments that often found them battling from behind to win.

And the youngest among the group, Troy’s pre-minor team, traveled to South Carolina for the regional championship, where they lost in a heart-breaking second-game of the title series. Still, placing second at such a young age – and so far from home – is quite an accomplishment.

Now, one team remains standing: The Troy Junior Dixie Boys, who are representing the state of Alabama in the World Series which begins play Saturday in Dothan. These 13-year-olds have faced adversity, including battling rival Enterprise in a back-to-back games to win the district championship, and throughout their post-season play forged friendships and respect for each other and their coaches. They head to Dothan with the support of their community, who will cheer them on.

With or without titles, these young men and women have shown true sportsmanship, determination and focus, proving they can be both good players and good teammates. We’re proud of them; they are all champions in our eyes.