Sunday, March 16, 2008

Holding Back

Rounding third base and heading home, you look ahead to see the catcher blocking home plate. The ball has already arrived in his glove. You can go gently into the night, by sliding and being tagged out. Instead, you lower your shoulder and go full speed ahead. The immovable object moves, and you wait for the dust to clear to see if you have arrived home safely. Untangling the mess, the catcher clutches his wrist. It is broken, and it is due solely to your aggressive play. You are a minor leaguer, trying to impress the manager and make the major league squad. It is an exhibition game and the results have no meaning .

You are Pete Rose. You have built your career on your unwillingness to do anything less than full throttle. You run to first base even after a walk. You are Charley Hustle. You were born to scratch and claw for everything. You are now one of the elite. You are convinced it is because of your commitment to excel from the moment you wake until you sleep. You don't believe in compromise. You see the catcher, Ray Fosse holding the ball and you decide that you are Pete Rose, yesterday , today and tomorrow. Like a fullback trying to get the extra yard, you hurtle forward . As Fosse prepares for the collision, you know that both of you will feel the effects of this for days to come. It is an All Star game, and whether you win or lose is without meaning.

It is the year 2000. The Presidential elections loom ahead. You are disenchanted with the politics of both the Democrats and the Republicans. You feel like your voice is no longer heard, no longer relevant. You decide that you will run for President on the Green Party ticket. You know you cannot win, but it is important that your views are acknowledged and debated. Maybe you can force some changes through your candidacy. However, as election day nears, it is clear that it will be a very close vote. If you decide that your voice has been heard, your point has been made, and you drop out, it can be the difference for one party. If you would only align yourself with the Democrats , then it appears that the race can be won by them. You are Ralph Nader and you have devoted your life to fighting for your causes. You won't be deterred now. You may have cost the democrats the election and been a principal cause in hurtling this country into 8 years of a Republican presidency and all it has wrought.

When are we not supposed to give it our best? Is there never a shade of gray, is it only black and white? Can we not understand that circumstances can dictate different approaches? Is it a sign of weakness for us to be less than all we can be, for one moment? Is it ever wrong to give less than your all?

No comments: