Wednesday, November 7, 2018

What America Lost When We Lost Sandlot Baseball


My Brother-in-Law, Ed Lewis wrote this on Tuesday, November 6, the evening of 2018 mid-term election. 

  • It is well thought out. 
  • It presents at least as much information as rhetoric.
  • I think he's nailed a major problem with American politics and America in general in this era.
  • I have his permission to make minor edits to his original post. 
  • He read and approved this version.

Enjoy the read.

Question: What is wrong with America? 
Answer: No Sandlot Baseball anymore

But first, let’s get up to speed . . .

Back in the early ‘70’s, my father gave me a cassette tape of a speech by a man named Ken McFarland. Dr. McFarland was an educator from Caney, Kansas. He started as a teacher in Coffeyville, then principal, and then Superintendent of the School District. He started a technical trade school and then became an employee of General Motors, a public speaker and a radio commentator.

The tape was titled “Ropes of Gold," and had a subtitle, “The Eagle Has Landed." It talked about the “good” things of America. I listened to the tape many times over and it had three points that have never left me.

First was a poem entitled “The Ropes of Gold." It's printed at the end of this post.

The second thing I remember is that he stated that we lived in the “Age of Information”. He felt we had so much information so readily available that we could gather enough information to “prove” pretty much any point we wanted. 


We could even use the same information to prove opposing points depending on how we presented the information and how much of the known information we presented. Even if you only present half of the truth, it’s still the truth, right?

Imagine how Dr. McFarland would feel today with Google, Bing, and Siri to help him!

The third point that stuck with me was a description of what he felt made America “different” from the rest of the free world.


Dr. McFarland stated that he felt the thing that made America great was that we purposely divided ourselves every four years over the issues of the day and argued our points. We would present, argue and defend our stands on the issues of the day. We would do our best to discuss and prod others to feel the same as we did. Then we would vote, elect and sometimes we won, and sometimes we lost.

Then we would get up the next day and go to work. And the winners didn’t goad the losers, and the ones whose candidate wasn’t elected didn’t whine and complain and shout of injustices until friendships were lost.

Recently, I re-watched a video of Richard Dreyfuss talking about subjects no longer taught in school, and he talked about the need to restore the teaching of Civics in High School. A course that taught us how countries (civilizations) survived; how they got along with each other. These courses taught us how important it is to remain civil when things became chaotic.

We think we are so much “smarter” than our ancestors of both recent and ancient times. In reality, we react to situations the same as they did. With the understanding of the day in which we live. When we try to judge people, cultures and actions from 50, or 100, or 200 years ago with today’s knowledge and understanding, we are usually wrong. You see, we are not a “jury of their peers”. We didn’t live then, nor experience what they experienced.

Removing stories from school education systems, removing statues from parks and removing the Ten Commandments from City buildings puts us right up there with the Germans burning books and the Russians removing information that showed the Russians were ever in second place in anything when compared to any other country. If you think I’m making up the Russian statement, find a Russian Jew who left under duress. Have a conversation with that person. You’ll receive a great education.

For some reason, in this country, we tend to think of athletes along with tv and movie stars as some kind of heroes, and very knowledgeable of World Affairs. They are entertainers. Some are good and some are bad entertainers. And most are probably not as smart as some third graders.

So, my feeling on this Election Day, 2018; 

  1. I hope you educated yourself and 
  2. I hope you voted


Now get on with your life!

If your candidate did not get elected. Work harder so things you want to happen in two years will happen. And don’t whine and complain.

Here is where my wife rolls her eyes and says to herself, “Oh no, what is he going to say?”

Two years ago, I stopped posting quotes and humorous sayings on Facebook, because some “Friends” seemed to be so angry about their political choice not being elected that it was embarrassing at times to be associated with some of the people and their comments.

The reality is, that the Left and the Right, the Clintons and the Trumps, the athletes and the entertainers that support both the Left and the Right, are so far out to the extremes that they do not live in any way where the majority of we, the common folk live day to day. We all live our lives, every day in the middle ground, along with the majority of the world. Most of us don’t live with the ability to rid ourselves of our problems by throwing large amounts of money at them.

In 2016, I voted for Trump, and I have had people call me an idiot, and ass, and worse ( at least they made statements to make the point that anyone who voted for him were those things ). Prior to the election, I had a good friend ask me how I could call myself a Christian and vote for Trump? Though my response was solid and full of truth, and he knew my feelings about Clinton, our friendship changed. Differences in opinions that become personal issues rarely end well.

As Ben Franklin said, “A man convinced against his will, is of his own opinion still”.

In closing – 

I hope you voted.

More importantly, I hope you take a deep breath and measure what is really important in life.



So now, how is the answer to America’s Problems found in Sandlot Baseball? 

In sandlot baseball or street football, you rarely had two full teams. That meant players also had to be the umpires and the referees. If you were the umpire and called a ball a strike, there would be an argument, but the reality was that you now had to live with the fact that in an inning very soon you’d be at bat and there would be a payback. So, you learned that honesty was the best policy.

Were alliances ever formed? You bet they were. And for a period of time, things were unfair. But eventually, the payback would come. We always went back to being fair and honest in our actions. When we were wrong, we learned to apologize and make amends. 

I learned to say no, to negotiate and even to manipulate situations to my advantage. But most of all, I learned there was a consequence for every choice, good and bad.

Sometimes we won, and sometimes we lost. But the next day, we always started over.

I owe a lot to the kids I grew up with.

One additional point; we never complained to our parents. 

Mine were great educators. I learned very quickly that if I complained about one of my friends cheating, my mom or my dad would agree with me quickly then say something like, 

“You are right! Those kids don’t deserve to be your friend. I’ll give you some chores so if they ask you to play you can say you can’t because your parents have you working.” 

They were so concerned about my well being!

A favorite quote of mine is from Franklin D. Roosevelt. 

“The overwhelming majority of Americans are possessed of two great qualities; a sense of humor and a sense of proportion.”

Let’s get our sense of proportion back!

Ropes of Gold
OUR LIVES MUST BE ANCHORED WITH GOLDEN ROPES
THAT GIVE US PURPOSE, MEANING, HOPES.
KNOW THE ROPES. KNOW THE ROPES AND YOU'LL BE FREE.
TO KNOW THEM NOT MEANS SLAVERY.
WHAT ARE THOSE PRECIOUS GOLDEN STRANDS
HOLDING FREEDOM UNKNOWN IN OTHER LANDS?

THESE, FRIENDS, ARE THE ROPES OF GOLD,
THAT ALL OUR PRECIOUS FREEDOMS HOLD.
TO LOOK AROUND AT A DISTANT STAR,
TO LOOK AHEAD AT HORIZONS FAR.
TO LOOK UPWARD THROUGH THE DAWN
TO TRUST IN GOD AND CARRY ON.

Comments are welcome.
On Blogger or on my Facebook Page
https://www.facebook.com/chuck.downing.56

I'm working on my own post on the mid-term election. Stay tuned.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Follow A Day in the Life of a Science Fiction Writer by Email