Here is where we came together for a few hours or more and made sense of all the nonsense. This is where we spectated from bleachers or couches, stadium or home, near or far.
Down there is where the best of the best came together after eight months, give or take a few days, to battle it out at the plate or behind it; on first, second or third base; right, left or center field; on the mound or in the dugout.
Out there is where precision met chaos in wild pitches and perfect hits, pop flies and basket catches. Over there is where clear thinking ruled, awkward hand signals, arm gestures and ticks spoke eloquently in secret codes.
This is where childhood dreams were made and broken, bets were won and lost. And at the end, grown men cried, bounced up and down boyishly and, overjoyed, piled on each other.
Here is where we assembled for the seventh game of the 2011 World Series, and by the time it was over, we had accumulated 24 hours and 30 minutes of subtle learning.
Yes, the 107th World Series Championship offered Cliff Notes on life, as lessons and proverbs.
Everything I really need to know, I learned by watching the Cardinals win…
Lesson No. 1 "Never say never."
Take St. Louis native David Freese whose story smacks of Matthew 13:57, when Jesus told the locals, "Only in his hometown…is a prophet without honor."
Growing up a devout Cardinal fan, Freese aspired to be just like acrobatic St. Louis outfielder Jim Edmonds. When he pursued a career in professional baseball after college, Freese was passed over by his beloved Cardinal's and drafted in the ninth round by San Diego Padres. For a while, he gave up the game altogether, going back to college to study computer science. Amazingly, when he returned to baseball, Freese was traded by the Padres to the Cardinals for none other than Jim Edmonds, his boyhood hero.
In Game 6 of the Series, he hit a triple in the ninth to tie the score and in the eleventh hit a walk-off home run, leading to a Cardinal win and saving his team from elimination. In Game 7, Freese, struck again, hitting the final homer that led to his team's eleventh World Series Championship. Oh, and by the way, who is Jim Edmunds' young son's favorite player? You guessed it – David Freese. Never say never.
Lesson No. 2 "Don't give up."
It's no secret that the 2011 season for the Cardinals appeared doomed before it began. Ace Adam Wainwright injured his right elbow, ending his year in preseason. Nick Punto's hurt forearm, Albert Pujols' fractured wrist, Matt Holliday's emergency appendectomy, David Freese's broken bone in his left hand – the injured players eventually tallied 17 on the disabled list. It didn't look good for the Cards, and their chances of being in the Series were slim to none.
By the end of June, they were 43 and 38. In late August, they were 10 and a half games out of the playoffs. When September rolled around, the Cards started rolling, finishing the season 90 and 72 and advancing. No team had ever come from being 10 and a half back that late in the season, except the Cardinals, rally squirrel and all. The rest is history. Don't ever give up.
When any team wins the World Series, it's Godlike. There are miracles and blessings happening all over the place. There's forgiveness and redemption. There's healing, wholeness and what seems like divine intervention.
Everything I need to know, I learned by watching my Cardinals play and win the 2011 World Series.
2011 © Copyright Paula Damon.
A resident of Southeast South Dakota, Paula Bosco Damon is a national award-winning columnist. Her writing has won first-place in competitions of the National Federation of Press Women, South Dakota Press Women and Iowa Press Women. In the 2009, 2010 and 2011 South Dakota Press Women Communications Contests, her columns have earned eight first-place awards. To contact Paula, email boscodamon.paula@gmail, follow her blog at firstname.lastname@example.org and find her on FaceBook.