Ted Williams is one of my all-time favorite sports characters for one simple reason. Those of you who are not baseball fans might not know that hitting .400 for a season is a tremendous feat, only achieved by superstars. By the time 1941 rolled around, it had been accomplished in the past, but not often, and not for quite a while.
Enter Ted Williams. He had a tremendous season, and as a die-hard Red Sox fan, I think about his accomplishment quite often, and it motivates me.
It was before my time, but Williams had achieved the ultimate that season. He batted .400, with one game to go. Nearly everyone including his teammates and manager told him to sit out the last game so he could enter the record books as one of baseball’s elites. Williams refused, claiming if he sat out the last game, he really would not deserve the honor. He got six hits that day, ended with an average of .406, and became a hero to millions of American kids to this day.
What happened to honor in sports?
Tiger Woods was the best golfer in the world, had a gorgeous wife, and gave it up to sleep around, all to the dismay of his fans. Barry Bonds thrilled kids everywhere, until his performance enhancing drug scandal. He joined the likes of Mark McGwire and Olympian Marion Jones. Boxing’s Mike Tyson had it all. He was the ultimate athlete, until he chose to throw it away. And now we are hearing about Lance Armstrong, the latest weasel to lie to the American youth who idolized him for his athletic accomplishments.
Where have our heroes gone? We could all rattle off the names of hundreds of sports figures over the last fifteen years, who like other public figures, have taught our children that lying, cheating, and lack of integrity are okay, unless one gets caught, and then only an apology is required to regain national favor and long-lasting fame. What happened to honor?
I do grow tired of those who belittle, mock, insult, and berate others who recognize our cultural problem. Let me join the ranks of the wrongfully scorned. Our nation is in moral decline.