By Jerry duPhily

Sports can be such an omnipotent force. Even as a lifelong fan, I found myself amazed at how the Eagles’ recent playoff run seeped into every corner of the Delaware Valley.

For weeks, “Go Birds” became our salutation of choice. Eaglemania was ubiquitous. The buoyant vibe was — pardon the expression — infectious.

So much so, in fact, that even rule breakers were caught up in the euphoria — statistics indicate crime in Philadelphia was down during the Eagles playoff run. 

Yes, sports may be unmatched in its ability to generate collective passion.

Of course, we all know the Eagles’ climb came one giant step short of the summit. Months before, the Phillies fell two wins short of their mountaintop. 

But did you not enjoy those runs? Were they not inspiring? 

The beauty of sports is that while there is but one champion, there are always multiple winners. Lessons learned from “giving your all” are rewards provided to all who compete —not just the victor. And those lessons can even trickle down to a diehard fan.

“You either win or you learn,” said Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts just after his team lost the Super Bowl. Words to live by. 

In this issue, you will find four stories of how members of the Wilmington community are learning winning lessons from sports.

For three generations of the Morris family, it’s about familial support and the desire to follow in a parent’s footsteps. For Dick Rago and the Delaware Tech men’s basketball team, it’s about instilling commitment while furthering one’s education. For West End Neighborhood House’s Above Xpectations track program, it’s about nurturing talent and creating opportunity. And for YMCA of Delaware CEO Jarrett Royster, it’s about helping youngsters achieve goals that go far beyond physical fitness.

Surely there are more. And I encourage you to share them with us for an article in a future issue.

We all know that to be a champion, you must be a winner. The lesson we must remember: You need not be a champion to be a winner.  

These stories will help you remember.

Jerry duPhily
Since 1988, Out & About has informed our audience of entertainment options in Greater Wilmington through a monthly variety magazine. Today, that connection has expanded to include social networking, a weekly newsletter, and a comprehensive website. We also create, manage, and sponsor local events.