There is still hope for America. I spent the last week in a small town in New Mexico where America lives and breathes. Farmington is not far from the four corners monument. This is a town where they still have parades down Main Street and it is where Connie Mack baseball is king.
Farmington is a town of about 40,000 people and surrounded by Indian reservations and historic monuments. There is a mix of Indian, Hispanic and Anglo people living here. Oil was their big business but it has been shutting down as federal leases are being canceled. Thunderstorms are a part of daily life in the summer but they keep the temperatures in the 80s to the low 90s.
This is where Connie Mack Baseball holds its’ World Series at the end of July each year with teams coming from all over the nation. For you not familiar with Connie Mack Baseball, it is for graduating high school kids from 16 to 18 all of which were high school baseball stars with most headed off to college to play baseball this fall. They are all great players and some will go into the Major leagues. There are 64 alumni of the Connie Mack leagues playing on major baseball teams today.
The event started with a welcome Bar B Que at the town park. The next day a parade down Main Street followed by the home run derby. All the players are housed in local families’ homes, all 250 of them. These host families provide housing and feed them (a lot) and even drive them to the games. Somehow this seems like America used to be.
No homeless lurking on the streets, just a lot of hard-working people, yes some may not be working but there are jobs if you want them. True they are not all $15 an hour starting wage jobs but there are jobs and believe it or not the pay is based on skills and working hard.
These young graduates are experiencing a slice of real life in a town so different from where most of them came from. It is a learning experience. How can this be, just playing baseball?
Just by playing baseball they learn that hard work pays off, do not make it to practice, do not support the other players, better start looking for another profession. You cannot claim discrimination or white privileges, you’re either there on time, work your tail off and cheers others on or you are out. Practice every chance you get and then practice some more. These boys did not get to the World Series by sleeping in late or claiming they did not feel good.
They learn to listen to people who know just a little bit more than they do, their mentors they call “Coach.” If they are lucky in life, they will have many coaches who have much to teach them if they only listen. They learn from the families that host them; they are not rich people, but people who care. They learn how to react to people cheering for them in the streets by saying thank you and meaning it. Watching little Kids that come up to them after a game just hoping that one or two of them will sign their ball or even a piece of a broken bat is a refreshing sight.
These kids do not act like spoiled brat athletes, they act like the leaders of America tomorrow. They are much like the men and women that built this country from 1776 to today. They are built by parents that care, coaches that care and even small families in the heartland of our country that care.