The Greatest Whine

I saw a little of a TV show regarding Hank Aaron, baseball’s career home run record holder until Barry Bonds passed his total in 2007.  It was describing Aaron’s team, the Atlanta Braves, during the period as he was closing in on the record of 714 homeruns long held by Babe Ruth. Images of a nearly empty stadium were said to illustrate the public’s disinterest, perhaps snubbing of Henry Aaron’s eminent breach of the longstanding homerun record.  Then without any uncertainty a woman asserted that white people were opposed to Aaron, a black man, breaking the preeminent homerun record.  They offered at least one letter purportedly sent to Aaron expressing such sentiments.   At this point I could see that this was not a documentary or sports show, but rather a media fiction of the socialist political agenda.

I was still a baseball fan in 1974 and my best friend was a Braves and Hank Aaron fanatic.  This media accusation of baseball, the Atlanta Braves, and all white people of discrimination and injustice, perhaps a measure of abuse against Hank Aaron is absolutely ludicrous.  There were and are a few racists in America, some are white and some are black, but common sense alone indicates that Aaron had been cranking out 30+ home runs with the Braves for a number of years.  Baseball is a team game and the Braves did not have a good team, although they had at least one star in Aaron. The team was not supported by large crowds because they usually lost and were not a good team.  Nevertheless, Hank Aaron eclipsed Ruth’s record and the news media made a big deal about it at the time.  I recall Aaron being interviewed and applauded for his achievement.  Yet, Aaron was not a showman, nor a popular personality, he seemed to expect his new record alone would entitle him to public adoration.  I recall one interview where he appeared arrogant in his expectations.  Aaron did not become a baseball commentator or TV personality or a popular ambassador of baseball.  It was obvious that he had no capability for these activities, irrespective of any interest he may have had therein. Nevertheless he had the record at the time, it was undisputed, so why would he pretend to be a victim.  Even though there was racial bigotry and Aaron had been exposed to it during his career, we all suffer injustice of one sort or another, he prevailed.  Forty-five years later this fictional complaint and false charge of white racism is flaunted to advance a political agenda and utilize the liberal socialists favorite tool of racial victimization.   However, baseball is only a game where players can earn high salaries, but their records and fame do not pay cash dividends, without some collateral effort.

My friend who nearly idolized Hank Aaron, went to a game, entered the Braves locker room and found Hank Aaron, sitting in a chair smoking a cigarette.  My friend shared with me, how Aaron glared at him, cursed vulgarly and ordered, “get out of here”.  My friend was still just a kid and his hero had fallen from his pedestal.  He still honored Aaron’s achievement, but having seen the man in person he realized that there is far more to the worth or measure of a man than his achievements as compared to others, particularly those pertaining to a mere game.

Great men achieve noteworthy things in spite of the obstacles and adversaries alined against them.  Winners don’t whine and complain about the circumstances; they won after all.  I think this is the most pathetic whining I have ever heard about a sports figure.  Hopefully, Hank Aaron had nothing to do with this show.  Todays fake media hype reminds us to question everything we see on TV, in the biased media, and to remember that the qualities of honesty, humility, lovingkindness and unselfishness are character qualities that mark the greatness of people, rather than fame or athletic ability.  I think Dr. Martin Luther King expressed it as well as anyone, saying we should be judged by “the content of our character”.

Crockett’s Own Story

Recorded history may be more awash with opinion than fact.  Of course, movies and TV shows are designed to exaggerate and embellish stories for entertainment purposes, but an honest man’s own account will bear up against the cross examination of opinion.  I found “A Narrative of the Life of David Crockett” to be an interesting and well told story.  It is written in the language of the common back- woodsman in 1835 and doesn’t contain any contrived accents as used so prolifically by Mark Twain.  I believe a twelve year old would enjoy it as much as an adult.  It’s not a complete history which would include Mr. Crockett’s  travels to Texas and heroic demise at the Alamo, but it reveals his character and convictions as no third party could.

When I first began my inquiry into Mr. Crockett’s life, I had one predominate thought, “Was he a man of character and faith?”  These are private matters that are deep within a man, but of the utmost importance.  Not every hero is so bold as Sargent Alvin York, who shared his faith openly and with great conviction.  Still, the nation was young and the second great revival was at its peak, but the western frontier of Tennessee was still a vast wilderness occupied sparsely by settlers in western expansion.  Moreover, Crockett’s life was hard, beginning in early childhood, such that he had very little schooling where Biblical history and Judeo-Christian principles were introduced.  However, more than once he states that he trusted himself to “Providence”, which reveals some grounding in faith.  Also, he expresses a well formed concept of duty, responsibility, and mercy toward others.  He explains this as being the product of humble beginnings and it shaped his life through both struggles and good fortune which he attributed to God’s mercy.

His narrative articulates a consistent profession of the virtue of honesty and uprightness.  For example, his grandparents were massacred by Indians, whom he later fought in war, but also befriended on occasion and supported politically, to the detriment of his political career and reputation.  His favorite quote which he wished to be remembered was, “Be sure you’re right, then go ahead.”  His political instincts were outstanding, but he embarked on politics in reply to a practical joke.  He preferred to conduct his own enterprises, including subsistence in the backcountry, but circumstances beyond his control turned him back to government service more than once.  He was careful in his campaigning, but exercised great courage  to promote the public interest rather than his own or others political ambitions.  This is a demonstration of character that is near and dear to my heart and my own personal experience.

After reading his story, I saw a man who endured adversity without becoming a victim or filled with bitterness.  Here was a man who stood for conviction, virtue, and duty, but accepted others as they were.  He is an example of a politician that is desperately needed today, sincere and courageous in the face of schemes and contrivance against the will of the people. To the extent that the saying is true, “Actions speak louder than words”, Mr. Crockett’s life sounds a clear call to embrace humility and commit to honesty.