It was a perfect morning in South Florida for a run, humid but cool, simply enjoyable. I thought about all my fellow runners across the world, who arise and press on in the pursuit of better health. No one rings a bell. No one sounds off over a megaphone to wake up — and if you’ve served in the military, you know what that was like. No one compels them to do it – it’s like Nike says, “Just Do It.” In other words it is about individual initiative and motivation.
So I got to thinking as I was running, here we are about to witness another “Fall Classic,” the World Series, and for the third time since 2010 the San Francisco Giants are there — they won in 2010 and 2012.
Perhaps conventional wisdom would say the Giants are expected to win again. But that’s not why they play the game. No one, no team, is “entitled” to a championship just because they’ve been there before or have won previously.
At the beginning of the 2014 baseball season all 30 teams in Major League Baseball — 15 each in the National and American leagues — started the 162-game season with no wins or losses. They had all been through spring training and prepared in the MLB preseason and every one of the “Boys of Summer” wanted to end up in one of those final two teams in the Fall Classic.
Each of these 30 teams had equal opportunity — and amazingly enough, San Francisco will face off against the Kansas City Royals who no one predicted at the beginning of the season to be there.
As a matter of fact, it has been 29 years since the Royals have been in the World Series — which they won against St. Louis. The Royals players figured, hey let’s “just do it” and pressed on in pursuit of a championship — sure there were setbacks and losses, but their record was 89-73. The Giants’ record was 88-74.
What this shows is that it’s not about the perfect record, but the perseverance of heart and the will to never quit — the pursuit of a championship. Neither team had a perfect 162-0 record. Heck, they were both barely at a winning percentage above .500 — 81 wins. They didn’t have the best record, but they had the desire to keep playing hard and win — no one complained about having a fair share or being a victim — just the thrill of competing drove them to success.
Just like the single runner who wakes up to put in that morning run, the individual players on the team set their sights upon a higher goal and pressed on towards that upward call and bonding together — e pluribus unim — the Giants and the Royals are the one-percenters of Major League Baseball. And guess what? We cheer them on! Liberals do seem to understand on the ball field at least. We celebrate achievement and understand everyone has the equal opportunity for success, just not the guarantee.
And so it is with college football where at the beginning of this 2014 season, no one predicted Mississippi State to be a top of the college football rankings, undefeated, yet that’s where they are. The Bulldogs and their in-state rivals, the Ole Miss Rebels, are number one and number 3 in the college football world. They’re also pressing on in pursuit of a championship, and if things go as is, they’ll meet each other in their rivalry game at the end of the season at “The Egg Bowl” — only one will win. The college football championship will be determined when the best four teams square off in January 2015, and then the final two — the one-percenters who pressed on — and we will cheer them on.
We love the pursuit of a championship. That’s why we go to the games, paint our faces, dress up in funny colors, wear costumes, and scream until we are hoarse — we love the pursuit of a championship.
However, why is it that we all don’t love the “pursuit of happiness” as enshrined as one of our unalienable rights from our Creator in the Declaration of Independence — the fundamental document, which established our Constitutional Republic? Why is it that we don’t cheer and just go nuts over our individual right to have the equality of opportunity to press on in the pursuit of our own championship?
Just like the runner who gets up every morning, taking personal responsibility for his or her health — why don’t we take personal responsibility for our happiness? Instead, some prefer having someone stand over them, giving them the false promise of a “guarantee of happiness” — promising that everyone will get a championship and a trophy. There are those who promise to give us that happiness, that championship, all the while stripping away the individual indomitable spirit to just do it.
The Commissioner of Major League Baseball doesn’t guarantee a championship to every team in the league. Nope, he sets the rules and policies where every team, every player, can fairly compete in the pursuit of a championship.
So how is it that when it comes to our country, we act completely opposite to who we are fundamentally — a nation of competitors? I find it quite ironic that these big “liberal” universities such as Texas and Michigan get upset when their football team isn’t winning. Or that two of the biggest bastions of progressive socialism — San Francisco and Seattle — have some of the MOST rabid sports fans and pride themselves on having won championships.
Yet, these are the same folks who tell others not to press on in pursuit of a championship — just sit back and allow them to present them a trophy, i.e. a government handout as they expand the welfare nanny-state. Fascinating, as Spock would say.
Never forget that in America, every individual has the unalienable right from the Creator — not man — of the pursuit of happiness. That elevates the individual as opposed to the collective vision of a guarantee of happiness. And so in two weeks Americans get to decide if they want to pursue a championship or just be given a guaranteed a cheap facsimile of a trophy.
I choose to press on in pursuit of a championship, my own happiness, my personal unalienable right bequeathed to me by God — not man. And so I leave you with this verse, one of my favorite, Philippians 3:13-14 and this inspirational video from Building 429.