Tuesday, July 12, 2011

All Stars

Thousands of fans from around the world will descend on Chase Field in Arizona tonight to watch the 82nd Major League Baseball All-Star game between the best of the best from the National and the American League team rosters. With the National League holding a slight advantage in wins (40-38, with 2 ties and no game played in 1945), the boys from the American League will look to better their record, while the National League sluggers will go for the win and increase their margin. It promises to be a fun, good-natured rivalry and a chance to see the best players showcase their talents. It's also a time we can pause and remind ourselves there just might be a few heroes left in the world for kids to look up to.

Down through the years young boys have shared one common dream -- to be just like their favorite baseball player, hitting home runs, striking out powerful sluggers, stealing bases and snagging fly balls to the wild cheers of the crowd. Pitchers and fleet-footed runners are exciting, but the homer brings the fans to their feet. The names may have changed through the years: Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Ernie Banks, Ken Griffey, Jr., Mark McGwire and Albert Pujols, but the long-ball hitters are the guys boys want to be like.

But alas, summer does not last forever. Once the leaves begin to fall and the air starts to chill the boys of summer start to fade. Though kids may still tack up posters, trade baseball cards and re-hash the season just past, they'll have to wait months before they're outside again throwing sliders, catching grounders, and hitting home runs. As they wait for next spring's green grass, they can lose sight of the traits their hero passes on: hard work, dedication, loyalty, teamwork and commitment.

It's not just MLB players that have those traits: dads, step-dads, grandfathers, uncles, brothers, brothers-in-law and others go quietly about their day demonstrating hard work, dedication, loyalty, teamwork and commitment. They may not be batting .375, have an ERA of 1.2 or have a Gold Glove Award. Still -- and more importantly -- they step up to the plate every day serving their families and doing what it takes to make a positive contribution. They don't work for headlines, trophies, titles or endorsements; they labor for the good of their communities, their churches, their employers and, most of all, their home teams.

These guys are the real All-Stars, and we salute you!

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