A daily accumulation of history and present as I follow the 2011 year through the baseball season and reflect on the glories and disappointments of the greatest game on Earth.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Kevin Kennedy

There's never enough good things to say about sports.
I don't just say this because I watched The Blindside and actually liked it and Sandra Bullock's terrible southern accent. I mean I was literally moved by it, but that's not why I say this.
I don't say this because I'm impressed as all get out by Tim Lincecum and Nelson Cruz's ability to play a sport in 2010 or because a Mark McGwire home run in 2008 inspired me to be a teacher, but those things help.
I'm impressed by guys like former NBA star Kwame James and former Texas and Boston manager Kevin Kennedy who get up on the plane when some freak starts making terroristic threats and needs to be stopped.
James made his heroic actions nearly 10 years ago, and just a few weeks ago, he finally got his U.S. citizenship. This was almost denied because of issues with his work visa when he was cut from an NBA developmental team. However, Hillary Clinton stepped in and kept James afloat and on the path to his dreams. While I could go in depth on how so many people try to come to this country illegally and would just stay because it's what they want, James did it the right way - with a little help from high places - let's call it one hand washing the other. Now, he's an American and loving all that this country has to offer as an official citizen.
He truly has every reason in the world to "feel great."
Kennedy was a little different. He's always been an American, and he wasn't up against a deranged Al Qaeda type, but rather, a deranged man named Stanley Sheffield who was making very real threats. In these times, especially since Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab tried to take down a plane with explosives in his whitey tighties, nobody is taking chances and for the good reason that anyone who has ever been to Ground Zero or to a field outside of Shanksville seems to know.
The words of Todd Beamer are more true now than ever: "Let's roll."
The same feeling that comes from the sports / street slang of Nike's "Just do it" commands the member to act now, to make it count, to stand up, to excel, to be great, and in the nature of doing it for the team (i.e. the country - as an actual country or just for a community of citizens and all that is holy and right with the world), make it count.
As John Wooden said, "when opportunity presents itself, it's too late to prepare."
We can all wonder what we would have done on the plane, but these 2 men and those other men and women who fought back against evil and tyranny while it was happening made it happen.
They saved the day.
I tip my hat to all that they are and all that they represent.
Some people look at sports only when they want to see thugs, greedy types, and cheaters.
These men are sportsmanship to me.

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