Editorial: Team made Rowan Proud

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Rowan County American Legion team’s last game in the World Series Monday night should go into history books as the winningest defeat of all time.
Victory would have been better. Teams live to win. But Rowan fought back from its 12-0 deficit against Midland, Mich., so relentlessly that it turned potential embarrassment into a story of grit and determination. What looked depressing in the early innings suddenly sparkled in the seventh, eighth and ninth. Rowan players never gave up, never lost their cool. And they came oh so close to winning again.
They have every reason to be proud.The final 15-14 score will stick in local memories for a long time. For decades people have talked about earlier teams and their feats. This team now tops them all.
No one predicted at the beginning of the season that this team might go all the way. So as the boys progressed from Salisbury to Greenville to Sumter and then Fargo, they got a lot of people’s attention back home. People who don’t usually follow sports closely took an interest in what the Rowan players were going to achieve next. Theirs became a story about possibilities ó a story about teamwork, selflessness and redemption. Everyone had their moments, good and bad, and everyone proved their mettle.
This is the best side of sports, when people lay down crosstown rivalries to cheer together for one team. The Legion baseball experience is a powerful reminder that we are all in this together, this place called Rowan County, and the best results come when we work together toward common goals.
Kudos to the team and coaches. It’s hard to sum up just how proud and grateful fans feel about what Rowan did. They made the folks back home proud.
The parents and families of the players deserve public thanks. Whether they scraped together the funds to go to Fargo or listened from home, they can take credit for raising a batch of talented, tenacious young men. They didn’t get to Fargo overnight; parents have been following them from baseball field to baseball field practically all their lives. The families have a lot to be proud of.
Kudos also to the American Legion posts that keep Legion baseball alive. The American Legion formed in 1919 to serve veterans and their families, but it serves the entire community by maintaining a baseball tradition that has shaped countless young men. These players will carry powerful lessons away from the summer of 2009 ó thanks to Legion baseball.
We all will.