Wednesday, October 15, 2014

What Every KC Royals Fan Should Celebrate: Bo Jackson

The Blues that have played in the background at Kauffmann Stadium after every win sound a little sweeter tonight. For the first time in MLB history, a team has won 8 straight post-season games. That team—the Kansas City Royals—is headed to the World Series. 
Ask anyone what they know about the Royals and I would put smart money on one likely answer: George Brett. Perhaps you also know they have a waterfall in their outfield—or do now.  Why? A number of fans decided to jump into it in celebration during the ALCS. I suppose I would if my team hadn't been in a post-season game since 1985. 

But when I think of the KC Royals, I immediately think of one ballplayer: Vincent "Bo" Jackson. And I think everyone who loves sports and spirituality should too. Here's why.

Jackson was sent to Double A. Ridic.
For one, the story behind how and why Bo Jackson ended up with the Royals is legendary. It was quite dubious that he would even play baseball. Why? Jackson was the number one pick in the 1985 NFL draft. Upon signing, Jackson, the eighth of ten children who grew up in a 2-bedroom house in Bessemer, AL would have been the highest paid running back in the history of the game. Yet on a point of pride, he refused to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Royals pursued the Heisman trophy winner without a sense of urgency. They drafted him the fourth round! 

In the press conference that followed the signing, one writer asked Jackson: "What are you going to do now?" "I'm going to take batting practice" was his honest and simple response. Had they asked him where he would take the long ball, I'm sure he would not have replied. Bo knows better. His actions always speak loudest, and this one was loud. According to Royals GM, he hit the first ball not only over center field, he hit the crown above the scoreboard. Welcome to Kansas City, Mr. Jackson.

His remarkable hit is just one of the hundreds of examples of his sheer athleticism. But to look at his talents, I cannot help but believe Bo Jackson reflects the wonder of God's creation. Move over Yosemite Valley. So long Grand Canyon. I see God's majesty in a ballplayer who is capable of doing the following, with little effort. 
His former teammate, Howie Long said it best. "God just reached down and touches a guy like that and says: you're going to be great. You're going to make great athletes look average." He did.

Jackson is aware of his giftedness. With candor and humility, he said,
God blessed me the speed that I can like I can run like a spooked deer. He blessed me with great hand-eye coordination. He blessed me with the arm like a high-powered rifle. And with all those tangibles, you’ve gotta be successful at something.You gotta be successful at something that you do. My niche fell on the baseball and football field.
I'm so glad it did. Thank you, Lord! (and thanks to ESPN for the highlight reels).

What Royals fans should know and appreciate about today, is the history of their past. Jackson is a jewel in that crown. As said in "You Don't Know Bo," Jackson was this fatherless kid who had a chip on his shoulder and was known as a bully in the neighborhood. And then, he channeled all of that anger into sports. What if more of us did the same?
words just aren't necessary
Tonight, baseball fans in Kansas City are celebrating what has been an incredible ride. To look at the team, you can't help but see several heroes—men who might not be much different than Bo Jackson. You might be thinking there's no one like him on that squad. That's not my point.

David Housel, former Athletic Director at Auburn explains what I believe. He said, "Why do we need heroes? Why do we look up to people like Bo Jackson? Because we are less than perfect. We're always looking for perfection—somebody who can do it better than we can. Somebody who can be an example to us of what we can be. That's why Bo Jackson is important. He offers us hope and an example of being more than we alone think we might be."

This team sure look like an example of much more than anyone thought they might be. I hope to see you at AT&T Park, the home of the San Francisco Giants later next week.

Photo Credits
SI Cover

Leaping Catch
KC Wins

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