A Lovable Enemy

I admit that when I first saw the Red Sox’s ad in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, I cringed. Losing the World Series isn’t fun, even for a fan who puts these things in perspective. It seemed like just a touch of salt sprinkled in a not-quite-healed wound.

But when I read it again, it looks to me like this was done in a good spirit, and I have to give kudos to the Red Sox. As much as American professional sports tries to play up rivalries and conflict, part of the beauty of games is that they are still just games.

And it reminds me of one of the main reasons I love baseball. Other sports thrive on embarrassing your opponent–dunking in someone’s face, standing over a tackled ball carrier, dancing in the end zone. Taunting is seen as “just part of the game” or “just having fun.”

I can’t see it that way, though. I’m still of the mind that we need to respect our opponents, whether in MLB or church softball or workplace environments. I’m also of the mind that we need to strive ourselves to be worthy of such respect that, when we lose a contest, the victors still want to shake our hands and say well done.

Now here’s hoping the Cardinals can take out a similar ad in somebody else’s paper next year.

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