I just returned from Cooperstown, New York, home of baseball's magnificent Hall of Fame and Museum honoring the game's legends like Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron and Cy Young. It was like entering a time capsule, going back to the America many of us grew up in that has been significantly lost.
Cooperstown is as picturesque today as when James Fenimore Cooper described it over 150 years ago in his classic The Last of the Mohicans. It is a small town of unimaginable quaintness but also a platform hosting tens of thousands weekly who come to this village and live out a way of life that typified America not that long ago.
Near the Hall of Fame is an expansive, beautifully manicured "field of dreams" complex of 22 baseball diamonds. They're complemented by dozens of dormitories housing 1400 12-year-old boys with their coaches/dads from over 100 cities across America for a week at a time. Each summer, this is repeated for 13 weeks, with hundreds of thousands of families, friends and relatives also attending.
There is an opening ceremony that is an extravaganza reminiscent of the Olympics. The teams play one another in a well-organized tournament that leads to a final World Series. Special awards are given for deserved achievement, with a closing ceremony featuring a memorable fireworks display. Word is out that Disney is interested in adding this enterprise to its fold.
My grandson never played baseball or even heard of the game until he became one of three adopted boys in my son's family six years ago. Last week, he slugged three home runs the final day, and their team finished 15th out of 104 teams.
I cheered wildly at seven exciting ball games and lost my voice midway. The athletic part of the Cooperstown experience was impressive to the max, but this is not what struck a chord with me as I strolled the grounds for seven days.
5 Characteristics of the Family-Friendly, Wholesome Time
My extremely positive experience at Cooperstown was a throwback to my childhood, growing up in the early '60s. Five characteristics I witnessed are typical of what life was like in America prior to the catastrophic upheaval of the late '60s:
1. Traditional moral values: I witnessed no profanity, pornography, raunchy T-shirts, immodest dress, drugs or drunkenness, inappropriate sexual behavior, homosexuality or transgenderism.
2. Traditional family values: Everywhere I went, I saw fathers and mothers and children together. I observed men of "steel and velvet" leading their families, loving their wives and mentoring their sons; mothers supporting and nurturing those in their care; sons and daughters respectful to parents and the governing authorities.
3. Patriotism, gratitude and honor: The manifest respect and appreciation for parents, coaches, country, the American flag, the National Anthem, military, senior citizens, veterans and even umpires (over 100 served as volunteers) were a sight to behold! The emphasis on congratulating victors after games, emphasizing teamwork and refraining from criticizing and complaining was both refreshing and inspiring.
4. Unity, order and obedience to rules and regulations: Instead of lawless, "nobody tells me what to do" prideful attitudes, we enjoyed the peaceful atmosphere accompanying self-controlled and well-disciplined children and adults. Respect for the "rule of law" was obvious everywhere in a town with a steady stream of traffic and on the litter-free grounds with thousands going to and fro.
5. Humility, servanthood and unselfishness: Leaders at Cooperstown exemplified and encouraged parents and coaches to fulfill their responsibilities as humble servant-leaders, not as insecure, demanding bullies. A quote from Jackie Robinson, one of baseball's first black players on a national team, was especially apropos, "I was told of the persecution I would face, but I determined to practice self-control."
My experience at Cooperstown was a stark contrast to the "progressive" vision for America which millions watched being promoted at the recent Democratic presidential debates. I was aghast at the antagonism, anger, arrogance and absurdity on display. These leftist-leaning leaders are deadly serious about their intentions.
The "progressive" ideas they promote result in the destruction of traditional marriage and family; celebrate perversion as "pride;" foster the demise of The Boy Scouts of America; engender the corruption of journalism and the collapse of "freedom of speech," "due process" and "innocent until proven guilty;" encourage pornography, promiscuity and lawless illegal immigration and drug legalization; promote unfettered taxpayer-funded abortion; push physician-assisted suicide and numerous other initiatives and entitlements that would bring about our demise and bankrupt America.
It's time we collectively declare, "Enough is enough" and recapture the America we've known and loved.
Is it possible? Can we revive our roots and elevate our vision to that of America's godly founders, whose pledge was "for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith."
Here's the deal: Everything starts as we turn back to God and remember what America was like just a generation ago, when we united on a field of dreams that can once again become reality in our time.
Larry Tomczak is a cultural commentator of 46 yrs, Intercessors for America board member, best-selling author and a public policy adviser with Liberty Counsel. His new, innovative video/book, BULLSEYE, develops informed influencers in 30 days (see www.bullseyechallenge.com). and he has a variety of resources on his website (see www.larrytomczak.com). You can also hear his weekly podcast here.
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