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Land of the free and the brave

Editorial from the Jan. 5 edition of The Virginian-Pilot
by Roseann Runte

A few years ago I drove down to North Carolina to cheer our fledgling basketball team in the first game of the season. The team was young, mostly first-year students who had never played a college game.

But we had some star-quality starters, a new coach and high hopes. Along the highway, Old Dominion University fans beeped and waved brightly as they passed.

A few hours later, about 20 stalwart Old Dominion fans gathered in a small corner of the arena holding 20,000 North Carolinians, all in good voice.

As our team came out on the court, I identified with the sacrifice at a Roman amphitheater. We were outsized and outnumbered, but not overwhelmed. We were annihilated but played hard to the final second.

Our student-athletes never gave up and they were not crushed. I was proud of them. They were what makes America strong. They were the dark horse that is capable of winning the race. A little bit of coaching and training, a lot of effort and they could be, they would be, winners.

They were like all our students at the university. Each one of them has the potential to excel. Each one, with effort and education, can lead our nation to greater levels of achievement.

Retracing the route home through recently harvested cotton fields with their puffs of filaments escaping in every direction, I was enshrouded in a dense fog. It was perhaps an appropriate exit, cloaking our temporary retreat. We drove in slow silence into silvery mists that bent down to meet swirling clouds of cotton dancing across the road.

Suddenly, from the clouds of mist and cotton appeared the majestic figures of a buck, doe and fawn. They stood in solemn splendor in the center of the road. What magnificence!

With quiet dignity, they made their way across to the shelter of the wood. Their beauty emanated from their freedom. This is indeed the land of freedom and America is indeed beautiful.

Could there be more poignant and compelling motivation for us all to strive, like our teams, to achieve greatness in the name of America?

This article was posted on: January 5, 2007

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Old Dominion University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution.