The World Series has been exciting, especially for those of us in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex. Since we became close friends with Josh and Katie Hamilton, Betty has taken a serious interest. She is a real sports fan! I believe she actually thinks she coached the Dallas Mavericks to an NBA championship and now she will manage the Texas Rangers to the World Series victory. It may be hard for some to imagine that quiet, shy Betty is such an all out sports enthusiast, but she is. Our youngest daughter Robin and her family of five have been dedicated St. Louis Cardinal fans for many years. Keep this in mind: whoever wins, we are still family.
Now, how does this relate to politics? I think in several ways. It would be wonderful if Americans would become a family of real fans for what is best in our nation.
In order to succeed in any arena, you have to know the goal. Of course, in sports, it’s winning—scoring more goals, points, or runs to come up with a better score than the opponents. This holds true in any competition. Let’s look at baseball. You’ve got to have qualified leadership over the team—managers, coaches, and leaders on the field.. Everyone must know the goal. You have to have the right players in the right place, fulfilling their assigned responsibilities. They must be able to deliver and win. Regardless of how gifted or talented they are, they still have to be a committed team member. The effective player avoids errors, makes crucially important defensive plays, and helps his team score more runs. If he fails to perform, they are replaced as quickly as possible. The same should be true of political leadership teams. Let me add, it would be nice if they understood what teamwork really looked like.
Consider the necessary ingredients of a winning team: They must be committed to perform as a team and clearly understand the goal. They would never be guilty of saying, “We can’t wait for the rest of the team.” In baseball, every player clearly understands the goal – they must win each game as a team. They diligently seek to put in place the best managers, coaches and players. The ethnic race of an individual never comes into the discussion. (Isn’t it sad that it once did even in sports and can still be a problem politically? The very idea of even discussing the race of any athlete or candidate who could contribute to winning is not only absurd, it’s insane.) May God forever deliver us from such damaging prejudices.
In baseball as with all sports the real issue is whether they can play and help the team win. We will never keep a player who continually strikes out, makes errors, and fails to deliver. All of these realities can apply to any leadership team in every arena, including the political.
The fans are wholeheartedly behind their team. They cheer for the individual and the team because they recognize they all share a common interest – winning. Every fan and supporter cares if the players know the principles of fair play and the techniques for hitting, catching, throwing, sliding, and turning a double play. The pitchers should know how to throw curves, sliders, fast balls, change-ups.
Now look at our political teams. Do they understand the assignment, the goals? As legislators do they understand the importance of passing laws that truly protect our citizens? Do they understand that seeking to benefit certain identifiable groups at the expense of others is cheating everyone and we all lose? Does the judicial system understand that they interpret the law; they do not establish the law? Are they playing the game fairly and effectively? As with sports, there may be a superstar and some obvious leaders, but it still takes teamwork—something we seldom see in legislative settings and circles.
Take a serious look at the team we need in Washington. We need a team committed not merely to winning elections, but to winning the race by accomplishing worthy goals. Winning is effectively providing leadership and the wisdom necessary to make decisions that work because they are made with deep convictions based on sound, proven principles. It doesn’t matter how much one discusses winning a game, if they don’t have the team, the ability, the commitment, and the understanding of how to do it; they won’t win.
In all sports, and certainly baseball, every player understands the game is played by the rules inside the boundary lines. In political circles, many seem to not understand the rules or boundaries such as keeping a balanced budget and spending under control, having a plan to meet a budget that the people support. The goal of government should be primarily the protection of the people and keeping an environment where citizens can be productive, continually creating opportunity, jobs and, yes, prosperity.
Dependence on the government as a nanny state is like a baseball team expecting every other team to forfeit so their team can win. No way! Can’t happen in baseball, but we seem to expect it to happen in politics. Good government will never place unbearable burdens on the population or masquerade as an all-provident pharaoh.
I personally love to support a winner and anything that works to the benefit of my family and others. I like good highways, good schools, effective law enforcement, city and community management, national oversight, direction that works, and a strong defense. I love to help the helpless and meet legitimate needs. Good leadership will inspire us to pull together and not hand off our responsibilities to any bureaucratic agency that has no heart or compassion. I love to support a winner. I am thrilled to support a great military and strong defense.I’m happy to pay for it because it works. Itprotects me, all those close to me and every American. What a great privilege to support a principled, committed, determined-to-win team. I’ll buy the ticket. I’ll buy the T-shirt, the jersey, souvenirs. I’ll pay my way and pay for others to go who are less fortunate. I’m glad to support what works through fair taxation and charities that I choose.
Like most Americans, I will not support losers and especially those who do not respect the rules, know the principles or how to win, and can’t put people in place who know how to win and how to play as a team. Keep in mind, we must be even more determined and committed to finding qualified leadership and a winning team of legislators than we are to winning any competitive sport. All sports pale in comparison with the importance of our national leadership and principled direction.
Consider this fact: All classes of people pay to support their team. They buy the tickets, the caps and memorabilia. They can’t all have box seats or season tickets. But they pay to go when they can—they work to go, they believe in it, and support their team in every way they possibly can. I believe the American people would strongly support our federal government and national leadership who proved they understood the principles of the game, what it takes to win for the people and began to play the game right. Every person in America should want to support our great nation. Everyone should look for a way to help carry the load—it shouldn’t be pushed off on any person or group of citizens as though they were causing our problems because they are wealthy or poor. We should find a way to work together as a team understanding that strong leadership is always essential. However high or low our income is, we should all be asking, “What can I do to help shoulder the load?” not, “How can I get somebody else do it?”
There was a sense of “team spirit” after 9/11 when people prayed together and displayed flags at home and on their cars. It was clearly demonstrated when firefighters and volunteers from across America went to New York to help at Ground Zero. This spirit was short-lived and must be revived; hopefully it won’t require another terrorist strike, nuclear assault, or total economic meltdown.
Americans should learn something from the World Series. Great teams play as a team and are determined to give one hundred percent to accomplish their goal. Great teams do not try to destroy their opponents through criticism, hatred, and character assassination. They perform by pulling together and proving they can win. People are sick of the media and political candidates continually stirring controversy by attacking one another rather than demonstrating their ability to lead. May God give us better national coaches, managers and leaders so Team America can win and we become excited as a people united together one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.