Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Broken Wing

Think of the Bald Eagle, and you bring to mind an icon, a symbol of the American spirit. Yet, there was a time not too long ago, that the great bird was on the verge of extinction. Upon discovery of the bird's plight, there seemed to be an appeal to American pride, that we couldn't allow such a great emblem to disappear from the planet. There was just too strong a bond for people to sit back and do nothing.

The bald eagle recovered, reclaimed its place in history. The bird with the broken wing survived.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketWe have another great American icon that seems to be struggling with a broken wing. It is as much a part of the national fabric as our Bald Eagle. The building blocks of the American spirit have always been Mom, apple pie and baseball.

Baseball has been a constant for generations. We have fought terrible wars, suffered tremendous loss, horrendous tragedies, yet, when the smoke cleared, the battlefields emptied, there was baseball. There it stood, ready to welcome us back. Nothing could ever hold us down for long, because baseball was always there to remind us that we were Americans, a nation of people too proud to ever admit defeat. And baseball was the game that helped keep us together.

Our heroes past were flawed, imperfect. While they were out on the field, however, they were gods, incapable of anything less than sheer perfection. Their off-field behavior was not what we cared about. If anything, it diminished their on-field performance. One can only imagine what the likes of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and The Mick might have further accomplished if they'd managed to stay healthy just a little bit longer.

It is ironic that the cloud that hangs over our broken-winged creature is caused by men striving to exceed perfection. But the backlash simply illustrates and enforces our desire to see players exceed their natural abilities by exertion of will and courage and character, rather than through the use of performance-enhancing substances. While our respect has always been given to the powerhouse dynasties, such as the NY Yankees, our hearts and imaginations have been forever captured during the seasons when a Cinderella team finally had its dance at the ball.

Our beloved bird is struggling. The image has been marred. But we know that even the most tarnished surface, with some love and a little American elbow grease, can be restored to its former luster.

We don't give up on our loved ones in this country. We rally behind those we see as suffering, and we do what we have to in order to make them well again.

Baseball is on the verge of seeing a controversial player claim one of its most revered titles, and when that record is eclipsed, there is certain to be discussion and disagreement about the validity of that accomplishment. There will be uncertainty with regard to a great many accomplishments in the sport. Baseball will lose a little more of its charm in the near term.

But we'll find a way to nurse our injured icon back to health. It may never be perfect again, but that will be just fine. Baseball is too valuable to our nation to allow it to be made extinct by the actions of a few. Our icon will return from the brink. Our country just won't have it any other way.

6 comments:

  1. Jimmy, this was so eloquently written. Your observations are accurate, and there is so much validity in what you have stated.

    As always, you give the best food for thought.

    Speaking of food, I think I overfed your fish. Don't be too surprised if they are belly-up by morning. I have never had luck with fish surviving my care for longer than about six minutes.

    Hugs to you~

    Nikki

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  2. That was beautiful, Jimmy.

    But I'm still taking a game of rounders over baseball anyday! ;)

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  3. I think over the course of time, people tend to forget in the end what counts. People need icons, they need hope. It just seems lately more and more of that hope is being stomped on. Hopefully with people like you an me we can keep it from being stomped out altogether. (Hugs) Indigo

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  4. Anonymous2:53 PM

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  5. I am a HUGE baseball fan, and I really appreciated this post.

    Last night when they were talking about Bonds on the news someone made the comment this was not as exciting as McGuire/Sosa homerun battle of 1998. I thought about that and it made me a little sad.

    Now, if my Cubs could make it to the World Series this year--I could die happy. And since we've had a few cinderellas in the past few years, it's possible!!

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