As you all know, the Kansas City Royals lost the World Series last night. They are being billed as a Cinderella story. They came back from a 7-3 deficit against the Oakland Athletics to tie the game in the ninth inning and came back from a run down in extra innings to win the game. They went on to sweep the LA Angels and the Baltimore Orioles. In all three playoff series they were the underdogs. In the World Series they were the underdogs again and this time they fell just short, losing by one run in the 7th and deciding game.
But my story isn’t really about baseball. My story is about what used to make this country great. So where do the Royals come in? Simple. They personify the America of my youth. I just hope they can forgive me if I seem to to put them down or belittle them as it’s not my intention. I confess I didn’t follow the team and I have little knowledge of what they did during the regular season. Too often, we only notice a team when they win.
The Royals are by no means among the elite teams in the major leagues. They barely made the playoffs. They had not been in the World Series since 1985. Their payroll ranks them 19th in the American League. Every major leaguer has talent. But the Royals do not have any of the players who are considered the upper echelon, although some of them surely have that potential. But they have one ingredient that has always been essential to become champions. They have an excellent work ethic and tons of heart. They won’t beat you into the ground, but they can rip your heart out with their steady play and determination.
These guys pull on their work clothes day after day and win or lose, they leave everything on the field. When they fail, it’s never for the lack of trying. When they win, it’s more like they wore the opposition down than it is they drubbed them. Win or lose, they show up the next day, working just as hard as they did the day before. That’s their secret. They show up. In the formula of success, showing up is 95% of the ingredients. Too often after someone achieves success, they fail to show up every single day.
In the America I remember growing up in, we were all Royals. We showed up for work, we gave our employers their money’s worth. We didn’t get offended every time we would be criticized for our work and instead Americans would work to improve. We didn’t think think he or she owed us a living, but that was okay because we knew we could do that through hard work. We didn’t think the government was our rich uncle, ready to shower us with food stamps and telephones.
Our country is hurting. The efforts of the current administration have proved to be counterproductive. We are ridiculed by almost every country in the world. We are demoralized. I remember another time when we were in a similar position. Then along came Ronald Reagan, who not only salvaged our economy and gained respect for us throughout the world, he made us believe again. That’s the other 5% in the formula for success. We need to believe again.
We don’t have another Ronald Reagan, but we do have the Kansas City Royals. If we just embrace their traits and mindset, we can return this country back to what we were years ago. If we fall behind we need to just remain calm and keep working. The Royals never panicked. They just kept chipping away , confident that they could prevail. They didn’t win the World Series, but San Francisco knew they had been in a fight and I am willing to bet they sighed with relief after the last out.
I will bet you everything I have that come April 6th 2015, opening day, the Royals will show up. They will win or they will lose but you will see the best they have. Now, if we can just get America to follow their example, we will be just fine. That’s what makes America (and the Kansas City Royals) exceptional.