Streamline - Fall 2017 - 34

will always be the author of my favorite
"cowboy up" story. She wasn't famous to
as many as those previous well-knowns,
but she will always be famous to me. She
is my daughter and her name is Terri.
I was working outside one day when
suddenly my 10-year-old appeared at
my side. "Hello, dear," I said. "Dad, I
have a target," she said. I smiled. The
poor little thing had heard far too many
lectures from her dad about how if we
would accomplish things, the first step
is to create a target. To get what we
want we must "focus our cross-hairs."
She had heard countless times about to
achieve, we must find our heart's desire,
reach down inside ourselves and pull
up what we would have come into the
world. "That's good, dear, what is your
"target?" "I want to win something at
school," she said simply. "Wonderful,"
I said. "Anything in particular?" "I
thought about that," she said seriously,
"but then I decided if I give myself several opportunities, my chances would be
better. So, my "target" is something like
cheerleader, first chair in band, majorette, or even something in a beauty contest. I just want to win something, that's
my target." "Little sister," I said, kneeling
down so our eyes were on the same level,
"that is such good thinking and such a
good idea. Now, you only need one more
thing..." "What's that?" she asked. "You
need to remember this...The Master in
His wisdom gives us a double dose of the
ability to try again if we just remember
we have that ability." "I can't remember
all that," she said. "I'm just ten years old.
Give me something shorter." "Okay, how
about this...When you fail...cowboy up."
"That I can remember," she said, and she
walked away.
Little did I know it at the time, but I
created a small monster in my yard that
day. For the next eight years, I learned
how deeply my daughter believed in
those words...
For eight years, she never won a thing.
No cheerleader, no majorette, no first
chair in band. Nothing. When she was
12 years old, I would sit in the audience
at the sixth grade beauty pageant, and
34 S T R E A M L I N E * F a l l 2 0 1 7

silently pray, "Lord, let her win a fourth,
Miss Congeniality, anything that we can
go home and celebrate..." and nothing.
She never won a thing for eight years,
and each and every time after failing,
she would say, "It's okay, I just need to
cowboy up, and be tough. Next time,
I'll win."
It started to bother me. I mean really
bother me.
She seemed to take defeat in stride, but
I was a different story. This was killing
me. I watched her put all her feelings
on the line time and time again, and the
mounting failures began to pierce my
heart. You know how it is when your
kid is hurting - you would do anything
to take the pain and bear it for them -
but sometimes you can't. It was her
eyes. I would watch her face when they
announced the winners, and when her
name wasn't called - you had to be a
parent to see it - I couldn't bear the
look in her eyes. Just for a moment, she
would drop her head, but then quickly,
she would raise her eyes and you could
see it her face... "I'll get 'em next time."
On a cool fall day, I was working outside when I saw her standing in almost
the same spot that little fourth grader
had stood so many years before. Staring
back at me was a beautiful senior in high
school. "Where are you going, dear?" I
asked. "I'm going to the band hall, dad.
I'm going to try out for Drum Major."
My heart sank. I wanted to say, "Terri,
they are not going to let you be the Drum
Major. You have never won anything, no
cheerleader, no first chair, no majorette...
nothing. They will never let you be Drum
Major." But of course, I didn't say that.
My daughter thought I was about to say
something else. "I know, dad. If I don't
get them this time, I'll get 'em next time.
If I fail, I'll just cowboy up." And she got
in the car and drove away. I wanted to
follow her. I wanted to chase her down,
and yell, "You're killing me. Stop doing
this. If they don't see you have value..."
But I didn't do that either. At 9:30 I went
to bed with a heavy heart. I wanted to
be asleep when she came home, so I
wouldn't have to see her eyes.

At 10:30, I heard this BOOM! My
back door slammed. Then a series of
boom, boom, boom, boom...her feet running down the hall. She hit my bedroom
door going at least 120, and landed some
10 feet in the middle of the room.
"I got it," she said in a strangely quiet
I raised myself up slowly in the bed,
praying this wasn't a dream. "Tell me
about it," I said, in the same strange
quiet voice.
"Well," she said breathlessly, excitement beginning to spill out, "when the
try-outs were over, the band director
stood and said, 'Some of you have more
talent than others, and some have more
coordination, but I have been watching
one since she was in the fourth grade.
Every time she stumbled, she got up.
Every time she fell, she rose again.
That is the person we need to lead the
band, and that's the kind of person we
need to lead us in life. Terri is the new
Drum Major."
And with tears streaming down her
face, and a smile brighter than sunshine,
she said, "I finally won, daddy. What do
you think about that?"
And like all parents do in such situations, I took complete and total credit for
the victory. I said, "Well, it's about time
you finally started listening to me...I
knew you could do it!" Then we got
on the bed and had a pillow fight that
lasted until the wee hours of the morning,
and that one victory was made so much
sweeter because of all those failures.
If you ever meet my daughter, who is
now very successful by the way, don't tell
her I gave up the faith for a few moments
because she still thinks I'm a hero. But
we know she is the hero. People who
fight the good fight, keep the faith and
finish the race are always the heroes. The
good news is we can be one, too, if we
just learn down deep in our bones about
a little phrase that helps us through the
bad times.
"When you get bucked off, start
making plans to get up before you hit
the ground."
- Michael Johnson


Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Streamline - Fall 2017

From the President: Accomplishment
From the Executive Director: Time Flies…
VRWA Said “Goodbye” to Board Member and Friend Roy Markham
Basic Management Skills
Lessons from Louisiana
Planning for the Future
The 2017 Virginia Water Resources Progress Report
The Benefits of Pipe Marking for Water and Wastewater Facilities
Water and Environmental Programs
Recipe for Sustainably Managing Utilities
When and How to Use Piping Restraints
NRWA Recap
Throwing My Loop: Cowboy Up…
VRWA Member Corner
eLearning Benefits
Membership Application
Benefits for VRWA Members
Board of Directors
VRWA Committees
Index to Advertisers/
Streamline - Fall 2017 - Intro
Streamline - Fall 2017 - cover1
Streamline - Fall 2017 - cover2
Streamline - Fall 2017 - 3
Streamline - Fall 2017 - 4
Streamline - Fall 2017 - 5
Streamline - Fall 2017 - 6
Streamline - Fall 2017 - From the President: Accomplishment
Streamline - Fall 2017 - 8
Streamline - Fall 2017 - From the Executive Director: Time Flies…
Streamline - Fall 2017 - 10
Streamline - Fall 2017 - VRWA Said “Goodbye” to Board Member and Friend Roy Markham
Streamline - Fall 2017 - 12
Streamline - Fall 2017 - Basic Management Skills
Streamline - Fall 2017 - 14
Streamline - Fall 2017 - Lessons from Louisiana
Streamline - Fall 2017 - 16
Streamline - Fall 2017 - 17
Streamline - Fall 2017 - 18
Streamline - Fall 2017 - Planning for the Future
Streamline - Fall 2017 - The 2017 Virginia Water Resources Progress Report
Streamline - Fall 2017 - The Benefits of Pipe Marking for Water and Wastewater Facilities
Streamline - Fall 2017 - 22
Streamline - Fall 2017 - 23
Streamline - Fall 2017 - Water and Environmental Programs
Streamline - Fall 2017 - Recipe for Sustainably Managing Utilities
Streamline - Fall 2017 - When and How to Use Piping Restraints
Streamline - Fall 2017 - 27
Streamline - Fall 2017 - 28
Streamline - Fall 2017 - 29
Streamline - Fall 2017 - 30
Streamline - Fall 2017 - NRWA Recap
Streamline - Fall 2017 - 32
Streamline - Fall 2017 - Throwing My Loop: Cowboy Up…
Streamline - Fall 2017 - 34
Streamline - Fall 2017 - VRWA Member Corner
Streamline - Fall 2017 - 36
Streamline - Fall 2017 - eLearning Benefits
Streamline - Fall 2017 - Membership Application
Streamline - Fall 2017 - Benefits for VRWA Members
Streamline - Fall 2017 - 40
Streamline - Fall 2017 - VRWA Committees
Streamline - Fall 2017 - Index to Advertisers/
Streamline - Fall 2017 - cover3
Streamline - Fall 2017 - cover4