The past week has given us several occasions to celebrate our common way of life.
I am not talking about the military parade in Washington, D.C., orchestrated by President Trump or the usual fireworks displays seen all over the nation. Those things are good and necessary, one guesses.
No, the occasions that should have captured our joy and sense of national pride came from sports. The winning of the World Cup by the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team, and the outstanding tennis of 15-year-old Cori “Coco” Gauff.
Everyone who follows soccer, and particularly women’s soccer, knew that the women’s team had the individual skill and talent to do well in the tournament. The question: Could they play together as a team and focus on their common goal? The victories over France and the Netherlands proved they could become one team, with one purpose.
Gauff proved that one’s gift is greater than notoriety. Winning against the great Venus Williams put the world on notice. Gauff has the athleticism and speed to do very well in tennis. She, like the women’s soccer team, reminded Americans that we are all ages and colors. To deny our national diversity is to deny who we are.
I realize that not everyone is a sports fan. I have a very limited knowledge of both soccer and tennis. But I understand perseverance and a commitment to something greater than ourselves. These women overcame obstacles. They worked on their craft even when they didn’t want to do so.
The women’s soccer team taught us that you don’t have to look alike to garner something great, but you must work together. As a country, we are failing to remember that.
I was also elated that the best of us was represented by women. It was American women doing their thing before the eyes of millions.
Even though they are not paid like their male counterparts, they did their thing. Painfully, we observed talented women once again be the victims of economic disparity.
Neither women’s tennis nor soccer players earn the money that men do. It is a shame, because women can perform at the highest level, and yet (like most places in America) women are paid less than I am.
Someone said to me this week that there is not much to be joyous about these days. I agree that there is a lot to be upset about, but there are still many things to celebrate and have a sense of pride.
How about those women who represented us on the world’s biggest stages and represented us well.
The Rev. C.W. Dawson Jr. was the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in philosophy at MU. He teaches at Columbia College and Moberly Area Community College and writes for the Missourian.