At CISM Games, Athletes Power Forward Through Defeat

By Air Force 1st Lt. Aaron Zendejas
961st Airborne Air Control Squadron

Aaron Zendejas of the U.S. Men's Soccer Team fights for the ball at the first soccer match of the 2015 6th CISM World Games. The CISM World Games provides the opportunity for the athletes of over 100 different Nations to come together and enjoy friendship through sports. The sixth annual CISM World Games are being held in Mungyeong, South Korea.

Aaron Zendejas of the U.S. Men’s Soccer Team fights for the ball at the first soccer match of the 2015 6th CISM World Games. The CISM World Games provides the opportunity for the athletes of over 100 different Nations to come together and enjoy friendship through sports. The sixth annual CISM World Games are being held in Mungyeong, South Korea.

It’s been a tough few days for Team USA here at the games. We’re coming off two of the largest defeats some of us have ever been a part of. But as mentally, physically, and psychologically taxing as that may be, we remain unbroken.

Winners are not winners because they never lose. They’re winners because they’ve lost many times, and each time they find a way to come back harder. There are so many factors that determine the outcome of a competition, but the REAL difference is courage — the courage to choose the toughest task available; the courage to fail. When clans collide — it’s squaring up with the biggest guy. When armed with only sticks and stones — it’s finding your Goliath. And in that moment when your ears are ringing, the sweat catapults off your face, and you taste your own blood — courage is the mechanism in your mind that tells you to stay and fight. When you’re toting Old Glory on your sleeve, that choice becomes a reflex. It’s involuntary. The presence of this courage creates the most observable division of mankind; and this team is physically incapable of surrendering.

We understand that if you pick average fights — at best, you’ll be a loser that wins. It’s our mature perspective and greater vision that allows us to say, “on the road to excellence, it’s better to be a winner that loses.” This Team USA will continue finding our Goliath and eventually define our standard of excellence. We have everything to gain as we live to compete another day.

Our opponents are very skilled and deserve our respect. There’s no doubt that we’re battling several elements here in Korea, but it’s up to us to make the charts reflect our performance — and France is a golden opportunity, because we are improving with every match — and they happen to be the next team in our path. Regardless of any score card, we will continue to hold up our end of the bargain for you fine folks back at home; to command the respect of our opponents by showing our unique, American brand of heart and class. It’s true, one or two of these games has found us outmatched, but because of who we are and what we represent, we will never ever be outclassed. With that being said, we’ve got plenty of big guns; it’s time to start firing them. Let’s get ’em.

Editor’s Note: Team USA went on to tie France 1-1, and a few days later, Team USA defeated Canada 3-2.

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