Sunday, September 6, 2009

A happy anniversary

I'm a long-time baseball fan, and as I was watching tonight's Dodger-Padres game (Dodgers lost, but still lead their division) the announcers reminded their audience that today marks the 14th anniversary of Cal Ripken Jr.'s breaking of Lou Gherig's record for consecutive games played. Ripkin would then extend that streak for another five hundred or so games, before taking a day off. That feat was a combination of hard work and good luck. Ripken largely avoided the sorts of injuries that would have potentially derailed such a streak, played and practiced hard, and somehow gave credence to the old adage that 90% of life is just showing up. There was something curiously old-school about Ripken's play and persona. In an era when star professional athletes rarely stay with the same team for more than a handful of years in the chase of the next multi-million dollar contract, Ripken managed to spend his entire lengthy career with the same organization.

I'm sure that there were many back in Gherig's day who were convinced that his consecutive games played record would never be broken, so I know better than to preclude the possibility that Ripken's record may one day be topped. I don't see that happening for a long time though. The sort of athlete who can pull that one off seems to come around but once in a generation.

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