[From Bill Lifka (who I believe is a Cubs fan :^)] America is about to celebrate its 239th birthday. Sometimes I doubt it will reach 250 without collapsing for financial/economic reasons or the American Civil War II. When I get to thinking that way, something happens that restores my faith in Americans. It’s American people who will determine America’s future, so the faith restoring event always involves people. It doesn’t take a lot of good people to boost my morale since, as the song goes, “Give me ten stout-hearted men and I’ll soon give you ten thousand more.”
This time it took three: a father, his son and his wife. Strangely enough, the event occurred in Illinois, the only State most likely to precede California into bankruptcy because a majority of its citizens have refused to admit what’s wrong. Adding to the unlikely setting, the event occurred in Chicago where the murder rate of young Black men exceeds that experienced in the Gulf Wars for the American military because a majority of citizens have refused to admit what’s wrong.
It happened in Wrigley Field: the site of so many failures by the Chicago Cubs baseball team. Two days after Father’s Day, Keith Hartley took his son to a night game between the Cubs and the Dodgers. That isn’t unusual except the son Isaac is seven months old and wife, Kari, tagged along for boy’s night out.
So there they are sitting a few rows back in the first base box seats and Isaac (I’m betting his nickname will be Zack.) is eating like the rest of the fans, except his is a bottle of milk capped with a nipple. The Cub’s batter fouls one off in their direction. The fans in the first two rows lean away and try to ward off the incoming ball.
Not Keith and Zack.
Keith moves to the wall and neatly snags the ball in his bare right hand as the Dodger first baseman lunges futilely over the rolled infield tarp. Meanwhile, Zack is neatly tucked into his Dad’s left arm, his eyes on the ball, his bottle firmly clutched in his hands and mouth.
Others may complain about risks but I applaud Keith’s instincts. He’d be one of my choices for the first ten stout-hearted men. Twenty years from now, Zack would make the first ten, properly taught by his father how to act like an American. The first lesson was in taking him to Wrigley Field before he was old enough to know the Cub’s historic record. Sure, they fall short of the mark most of the time, but they hang in there swinging and running and occasionally hitting the ball and often catching it.
It’s the perseverance that’s deserving of emulation by all Americans, not to mention keeping one’s eyes on the ball, which Zack seems to have mastered at an early age.
Then there’s Kari. She remarked, “I was a little bit nervous………. he held on tight to both the ball and Isaac, so we were OK.” There’s no reason why Kari couldn’t have been the one to catch the ball but I doubt she harbors any resentments it was Keith who did the job. Kari is one of those All-American wives and mothers who accept and encourage maleness in their men.
How does this apply to all the nonsense in Executive Branch, Congress, Supreme Court and our international policies? America is going wrong because its leaders are like the guys in the first rows at Wrigley Field. They shy away from the ball for fear they might miss it and people would blame them. It might hit them on the head and knock them out of the game. They might catch it and not know what to do with it. With all the Republican candidates is there one who is a Keith Hartley act-alike? Forget the Democratic Party. Forget those Republicans who are demagogues.