For many of us, it happened in elementary school when they stopped giving trophies for just being on the t-ball team, for others, it may have been after a successful collegiate career, but as adults, there are rarely times to win trophies. I recognized this last October when I placed in my age group in a half marathon. I was genuinely excited about winning, but I sort of downplayed it, and smiled it away. I had truly worked hard for it, but adults don't get trophy (it was a bottle of wine, but same thing). Almost eight months later as I start my training for the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC, I am looking for a new personal best, but there will be no trophy attached. There will be no one at the finish line counting the seconds and placing a trophy in my hand. Did I really just win my last trophy?
Tonight is also the Gold Cup final. This is a soccer tournament of all of the national teams in North, Central America as well as the Caribbean. The US has a chance to win a trophy in soccer, in a real tournament. No, it isn't the World Cup, but it is a trophy, and if we win tonight (like they did when I watched the final live in 2007 in Chicago), it will be the last trophy for many of these players. I would imagine that none of them are thinking that way, but it will be the reality for some.
Tomorrow morning, I leave for ISTE11 in Philadelphia. There will be a lot of people there that will have been handed their last trophy, but there will also be so many people there that are keeping the hopes alive for more trophies for kids across the country in tiny towns and in no name schools. I'm also starting to truly believe that the local food movement is similar to the power of this ISTE11 conference. Passion, opportunities, and a way forward emerges from the energy of the masses. There will be no trophies given to the best people at the end of the week, no awards ceremonies, but there will be a chance to feel the power of WE that can infect more and more schools with the best ideas possible while providing a global safety net when failure comes for each of us.
I wish us all another opportunity for another trophy, but if we have earned our last trophy, then let us use all of our strength to keep this possibility alive for our students. Go USA. Go ISTE.