Play Ball!

How and where do Americans learn democratic ethics and fair play?

One of the components of this crucial aspect of development and maturation as American citizens is located on the thousands of sandlots, playgrounds, and schoolyards all over the country…

The phenomenon of ‘unorganized’ and  largely unsupervised sports and contests that are predicated on the rules of the game being played, might be viewed as fundamental exercises in self government….

First we ‘choose up sides’:

That is, we divide a group of kids into teams…

Who picks first?

On the count of three, a representative of each side reveals a number of fingers from zero to five. If the sum of the two numbers is even, the “evens” win; if the sum is odd, the “odds” win. …

This is the work of the rudimentary understanding of the Democratic process…The teams are determined by the luck of the draw.

The method that was used by ancient democracies to determine who should serve in the government…

This was done by the blind drawing of different colored balls, or ‘ballots’ from a closed container.

Though not purely random, the term and form of ” balloting” are still in use today…

Back in my day, the team with second pick was given home field advantage… This meant that, if the game was baseball, they always had the last at bat if they were behind or the score was tied in the final frame of the game….

Because we played without umpires, disputes on close plays were often settled by the uninvolved player who was closest to the play, regardless of team affiliation…

We were on the same team, but because we  played  at different positions we could ‘see’ the game from different perspectives…

As friends, we were loyal to one another.

As teammates, we were loyal to the team that we were on that day, knowing that we could be playing with a different line-up the next time we played…

Loyalty to the team was always superseded by loyalty to the game….

The same general principles applied to games of basketball and tag, or flag, football…

That’s how we learned to understand the value and purpose of teamwork, sportsmanship, fair play and ethics…

I believe that it is fair to say that, Trump and the major players in the current administration, don’t have the strength of character, or the sense of fair play and ethics, possessed by a bunch of kids on a sandlot that are required to simply, “Play Ball”!

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