By Tamrah Jo Ortiz
I attended the Colorado Sky Sox ball game last night. First time my husband has accompanied me to a baseball game since we first started dating. Mainly because I accidentally cheered for the wrong team. (Hey, with so much going on, I forgot who was up to bat. I did cover myself by saying, “Booo! He was safe!” but my husband-to-be was not fooled…)
Before last night’s game, Hubby asks if I know who Goose Gossage is. (seems his smartphone told him it was Goose Gossage night…)
(Note – Part of my Soul’s Heroic Mission this go-around is to appear a complete dumb arse in regards to sports, so by turns, I teach the males in my circle tolerance and give them a laugh when needed. I’ve learned to play my role realllyyyy well!)
“Of course,” I reply. “He was the co-pilot for Tom Cruise in Top Gun.”
It got the desired reaction – laughter and eye-rolling.
Then I informed him that Goose was a great ball player and a few years back – he had done something pretty spectacular… broken a record or something, because I remembered hearing about some fantastic accomplishment….
At the game, I’m proven right. Goose Gossage was the 199th player to be inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
This whole story is told to my mother, who joined us for a night of All-American entertainment. She reminds me of my past sports faux pas. (aka Fox Passes, in our family….)
And also points out how many times I’ve lost Trivial Pursuit games simply by not having the orange pie…(you guessed it, Sports and Leisure – on the bright side, I used to bartend, so if my questions fall more in the “Leisure” category, I win…)
During a general “Let’s make fun of Tamrah’s ignorance regarding sports” melee I finally had to speak up in defense.
“Hey! Do you all know what absolutely critical-to-our-freedom-event occurred on the night of August 29, 1776?”
I’m met with silence. Smug in my genius, I relay why they should really know about this.
In the evening hours General George Washington set about evacuating his Continental Army across the river to Manhattan. Following the Battle of Long Island losses and the current reality that places him nearly surrounded by enemy forces, he calmly calls for all available water vessels, orders wagon wheels muffled and soldiers to march silently. He charges Quartermaster General Thomas Mifflin with rear-guard duties. In other words, Mifflin and his boys are to keep all the campfires going.
Across the way, British General Howe understands he has Georgie boy surrounded. He does not press his advantage. Why further demean a hapless and hopeless opponent? Instead, he gives his foe the night to accept defeat and pen his eloquent surrender speech. His scouts report all is quiet, campfires are going and the enemy is not up to any funny business.
The retreat, hindered by mis-carried orders instructing Mifflin to abandon his post too early and aided by a late morning fog, is successful. By mid-morning on August 30th, General Howe stands surveying empty American fortifications, puzzled as to just how his surrounded quarry managed to escape.
The bulk of the Continental Army (around 9,000) had been safely snatched from the jaws of total ruin and/or capture.
In large part to the distraction of peaceful campfires.
I’m not discounting the accomplishments of sports figures. But in my mind, knowing the above story is more important than knowing who-broke-what-record.
Simply because, it gives me time to reflect on and ponder the extraordinary effort put forth by our forefathers in the quest for Freedom. By delving deep into the history of our Revolution, I see how many times our cause was on the brink of being lost.
I am deeply touched by stories of those who marched in snow without shoes, fought battles with nothing more in their stomach than boiled shoe leather and how, even in those days, office politics abounded.
Knowing George managed to keep his post AND win the war, in spite of gossiping, negative, incompetent back stabbers trying to get him fired nearly the entire time, reassures me great things can be accomplished, even if the cause you’re joining is peppered with the lazy, power-hungry and traitorous.
I’m also intrigued by the campfire ruse.
I see a lot of campfires around these days – lit and tended to distract us from the real issues.
I really don’t want to be on the side that got distracted….
So, I’ll continue in my evil ways of teaching true sports fans tolerance. I’ll continue to forget what a balk is, why pinch hitters are necessary and why yelling, “Quit diving for the ball” at an opposing fielder who has done the extraordinary time after time tonight is met with silence and glares. Sports fans like seeing great plays, even if they are by the opposing team.
On the flip side, did you know Lynne Cox trained both her body and mind to swim the Bering Strait? Amazing what the human body and spirit can do…