And the Winner Is…


Announcer enters center ring and reaches for the descending microphone.  The contestants stand sweating and weary but his side.  A hush falls over the crowd as the announcer reads the judges’ decision.

And the winner is by an unanimous decision and technical knockout, the reigning champ-i-on….The Appalachian Trail!!

Supporters of the Trail’s opponent, The Loon, boo wildly!  The defeated opponent hangs her head in sorrow, but still manages to briefly bump gloves with the Trail and says, “Good match”, then turns to exit the ring.

With over a 70% win ratio every year, the Trail’s winning record is tough to beat.  There will be other opponents and other bouts this year.  Occassionally some of the underdog fighters will win and the crowd will cheer for them.

The crowd rarely will cheer a win for the Trail, but that doesn’t mean they hate the Trail.  No, they respect the fact that the Trail is a formidable opponent.  They admire the Trail’s winning record, but everyone is always trying to knock the king off the mountain.  It’s like a rite of passage.  The Trail has set the standard that must be met and many strive to meet the standard.  It’s a matter of pride and accomplishment to achieve a win, to meet the standard set before them.

But, as with all great standards, they are not easy to meet and most will fail to achieve the goal and that is what makes it a great accomplishment.  For if everyone were to achieve the goal, much as we might like to have all successful, the accomplishment might lose it’s allure.  Greatness requires few to achieve to be considered great at all.

As for our defeated opponent, well, at least the match ended in a technical knockout, due to injury and not because of the lack of heart or desire or effort.  The Loon will be receiving medical attention for dual herniated lumbar discs and can not say at this time whether or not there will be a re-match with the Trail.  And while, the sorrow of defeat still looms over the Loon, she can also say that she is extremely thankful and grateful to have the time in the ring with the Trail.  The experience, the people, the pain, the beauty, the love and laughter will not be forgotten.  While she may have lost the match, she still came away from this experience richer and that makes her a winner.


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