“One nation under God . . .”
“The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game; it’s part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good and it could be again.”
These lines spoken so eloquently by James Earl Jones who played Terrance Mann in the movie “Field of Dreams” kept rolling over and over in my head as I, like millions of other Americans, sat glued to the television during this season’s World Series games between the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago Cubs. Unlike any Series I’ve watched in years, there seemed something unexplainably mystical about this one. Maybe it had to do with the two teams, both of whom had been plagued by such long histories as underdogs. But there had to be more to it than that. Otherwise, why did so many of us feel like we were being dipped in “magic waters”, as James Earl Jones put it?
Perhaps it was the decorum on the field; for though intensely competitive as it was, behavior was nothing short of exceptional – no name calling, no character assassinations, playing by the rules, each batter facing the opposing pitcher not as an enemy, but as a worthy and respected opponent with his own unique spin on the ball. And when mistakes were made they were owned up to, shaken off, and corrections made. One team did become the victor, but neither was a loser, indeed both were winners, the best of the best.
Then it occurred to me that we were witnessing through this magnificent World Series America at her best, a breath of fresh air from these past months of enduring the most dismal presidential campaign in my lifetime, reassuring us that we are still “one nation under God.” Yet it wasn’t politicians who dipped us in those magic waters; rather it was baseball, “the one constant through all the years. . .” as James Earl Jones articulated so beautifully in the movie. “America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again,” he exclaims. “But baseball has marked the time. . . It reminds us of all that once was good and it could be again.”