I’d love to give you some pithy political commentary this week, but I can’t, as I have nothing to talk about. There’s a very simple reason – like most of you, I was glued to the TV, unable to take my eyes off the incredible baseball we got to witness with the League Championship Series.

I agree with many commentators that the World Series – whatever its moments or outcome – will not match the incredible games and storylines that these two series produced.

But in thinking about these series, I feel that they brought out some of the true character of America. To quote one pundit, we chose well when we picked our national pastime.” The way they each played, the way they fought it out in our American coliseums, is indicative of what makes America the nation it is.

Consider the outpouring of sympathy for both the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs. Even as a die-hard Yankees fan, I’ll admit I wouldn’t have minded seeing a Sox-Cubs match-up. The idea of the Billy Goat against the Bambino has a certain poetry to it, but there has to be something more than just that. Other teams have wallowed for years without a victory in countless sports, and America hasn’t much cared.

I would suggest that America inherently loves to see the American dream fulfilled. Although it might be a bit of a clich, we live in a country in which people believe their dreams can be fulfilled. The reason people root for the underdogs is that we just want to see everyone succeed. We wanted to see Trot Nixon, Sammy Sosa, and others taste victory and give victory to their fans.

We wanted to see them surmount all odds, surmount curses that have taken on mythical proportions, in order to show that in America, all can be overcome – even the ghosts of the past. We have overcome slavery, the horrors of two world wars, and the threats of a nation with a motto of “we will bury you.” Throughout it all, America has stayed confident, defiant, and victorious.

In the Florida Marlins, you have the unspoken underdogs – the team everyone counted out. When tallying the teams you wanted in the series, you got the Yankees, the Red Sox, and the Cubs quite easily – the Marlins were the uninvited boors that crashed the party.

Yet we as fans couldn’t help but relish seeing a team of “kids” playing their hearts out to come back to win against the Cubs. Taking a collection of players who were “too young,” with a manager who was “too old,” they refused to give up.

The Marlins illustrated that “can-do” American spirit that looks at the odds and simply smiles. They didn’t care what others said – they knew they could do it. America has often been counted out by those unmindful of history, only to prove again that we are a nation that can “swallow a tiger whole.”

Then there are the Yankees. America somewhat resembles the Yankees in how it goes about its business – they realize that people will either love them or hate them and that there’s not much they can do about it.

However, they believe they can succeed. They feel it in their history and in their marrow that they are the Yankees and that somehow the power of the pinstripes will overcome all odds. There was something perfect about Aaron Boone, the most unlikely of candidates to hit a home run, being swarmed by fans and teammates alike.

How often has America come through on the slimmest of chances? From the winter crossing in Trenton, to the surprise of Midway, to going toe-to-toe in Cuba, our nation has hung in the balance many a time, yet has always found a way to overcome.

How often have we taken the “poor and huddled masses,” rejected from foreign shores, to see them become giants here in their new homeland? What that 11th inning hit meant for me was the adage, “True champions find a way to win,” coming true for all of us. We, like the Yankees, can face the best our opponents can throw at us and still come out on top.

So to Osama bin Laden and his ilk I say this – go get Direct TV in your cave and watch some baseball. See America come together, see it sing “God Bless America,” see baseball bring out the best in our national character and start to weep – since we’re not going anywhere.

Clemm can be reached at rclemm@campustimes.org.

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