By Brandon Blackburn:
Thank you baseball. At a time when the worst of our country is so often on display, you showed the best of us. Thank you for not forgetting what sports are meant to be about. The great uniter and metaphor for life. Thank you for bringing America together. After all, even fans of the dastardly arch enemy Cardinals had to tip their cap to your new champion. For what we all broke curfew to witness was nothing short of enchanting.
You are what sports have been missing as of late. In a time when your counterparts on the gridiron and hardwood sow division and angst, you brought unity and magic, you are where the celebrity millionaire movie star stands shoulder to shoulder with the average Joe, or Karen, watching their team and bonded equally in their thirst for a win. Where men and women of all faiths worship at the same cathedral. Where a republican and democrat can vote the same way. And where the immigrant from a third world country has the same chance at the pennant as the blue-chip ivy leaguer. The field on which you play the game is the great equalizer. Neither a hanging curveball nor the crack of the bat against a ball en route to the bleachers care where you come from. Just like in life. And the way in which you play, the great escape. For nine innings, or ten, you gave youth to those who are ailing, pride to those who have been shamed. As we watched the only colors that matter were not the ones of our skin, but the ones of our team- shades of Cubs and Indian blue. And now, the green of Harry’s apples.
With more eyes on you than have been in a quarter century, you chose to embody what is great about this country. And you did so in a way that was not about you. You honored those who have made your success possible and made us all believe in something greater than ourselves.
You are a sport where it is not about the individual. For you, it takes more than one talent to win. Rather, a collection of talents each bringing their strengths to complement one another with a common goal. You reminded us that winning does not come easy and that the greatest successes are at the end of the longest roads.
Most importantly, in the spirit of America as its past time you proved that no matter how many times we strike out the only at bat that matters is the next one. And that no matter how many times we may lose or fall short, there’s always next time…or next year.
Baseball, you did not just give us a thrilling few nights of entertainment. But you gave America exactly what it needed, at a time when it needed it most. Thank you.
Brandon Blackburn is an OpsLens Contributor and former CIA Counterterrorism Officer with a journalism degree from the University of Missouri and an MBA with a concentration in International Business. During his time with the CIA, Brandon served multiple tours in the Middle East, to include Iraq and Jordan, and in Afghanistan. Brandon consults with businesses and media on national security related issues with his consulting firm B4B Enterprises. He can be followed on Twitter @Bran_Blackburn.