The Unknown Winner

By David Tepera, November 22, 2017

In almost every game played, at any level, there’s moments when an athletic player performs a spectacular play. The crowd yells and cheers, including teammates and coaches. Even after the game is over, people still celebrate these star players.

But, here is something I want you to think about. Let’s revert back to children’s early years and into high school activities.

As I’ve just written, star athletes get all the attention, and they should. I’m not taking away from their efforts. But, in most cases, there are other players on the team that conquered bigger battles just to be in the game.

I know obese kids who lost a significant amount of weight because they loved football. I know of a family who lost a son in a tragedy, but his brother and sister finished the season in his honor.

We recently had major destruction from the flooding of Hurricane Harvey, and Dickinson High School sports are thriving. Of course, so many other county schools were affected, as well, but Dickinson was hit the hardest. I’m sure many of their athletes are living in uncomfortable conditions.

Now, I’m not just referring to sports. What about in the classroom? Who could possibly be an unknown winner for academics?

My 19-year-old son Dylan has been a talented athlete his whole life, including impeccable grades throughout school. But, the biggest winner in our family is my 17-year-old daughter Daylyn.

Daylyn was diagnosed with extreme dyslexia in second grade. I had her repeat a grade due to the severity. Just know, she gave me permission to write about her struggles.

Here’s my point. Daylyn studies twice as long as most students, battles through all her classes, and had a season-ending knee surgery this past summer, including so much more.

For Daylyn, she doesn’t get grounded for making subpar grades, we celebrate any number that reflects passing. Our family knows her struggles and frustrations because life doesn’t come easy for her.

One day she came home very disappointed and embarrassed with herself due to a 42 grade on a major text. I looked at her, gave her a high five and said, “at least it wasn’t a 41.” We laughed and went for ice cream.

I’m only giving my experiences of the unknown winner. I’m sure all of you have personal stories and life experiences, too. Take the time today and reach out to the unknown winner in your family. Let them know how proud you are of their efforts, and go celebrate like the game winning shot.

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