6-Week Series: Against All Odds

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A record was set in the summer of 1995 that literally brought the sports world to its feet. Strangely, it was not some incredible record-setting blazing speed or absolute accuracy or some great display of muscular power. As a matter of fact, it was simply an honor given to someone who showed up more than anybody else in that particular sport.

His name is Cal Ripkin, Jr., a shortstop for the Baltimore Orioles for years. He broke a record that many people thought would never be broken. It had been set by the legendary Lou Gehrig, New York Yankees’ first baseman – 2,130 games before he hung up his glove and called it quits because of a disease that finally took his life.

When Ripkin walked onto the field to begin game 2,131, the crowd exploded. Of course, they were there that night for that purpose. For twenty-two uninterrupted minutes they stood and applauded. And a lot of us made it a point to be by the television that particular day so we could watch history being made.

He stood there, in Ripkin style, and just looked. Eyes became misty as he looked all around the stadium, a stadium where he has played ball throughout his professional career. And then he did a wonderful thing. He walked over to his family and embraced each one of them and gave something to one and a cap to another. It was just one of those great moments. It was a gracious, public declaration in honor of a man who showed up for 2,131 games, and still went on without missing.

Those who attain to any excellence spend life in some one single pursuit, for excellence is not often gained on easier terms - Samuel Johnson

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