Congratulations, Boston Red Sox

Revolutions have a terrible arm and a fortunate hand; they strike hard and choose well. Even incomplete, even degenerate and abused, they nearly always retain enough of the light of providence to prevent a fatal fall. Their eclipse is never an abdication.”

–Victor Hugo

The thing is, they were never supposed to get this far. The curse, the years, the weight of all that history pressing on them, the fans only too ready to believe they’d end up getting their hearts broken … They weren’t supposed to get past the hated Yankees, they weren’t supposed to make it easy. They were supposed to die, and die hard.

Only nobody told the Red Sox.

And so they swept the St. Louis Cardinals, playing not like the hapless losers we all knew they were, but like the winners they knew they could be. They refused to read their press clippings. They refused to listen. They refused to lie down and die, to make the easy mistakes, to buy into their own myth. And in that refusal, they created their own legends.

Anybody else see the parallels yet?

People can do extraordinary things when they refuse to take no for an answer.

When they defy the conventional wisdom, ignore the common opinions. When they hear the predictions, see the inevitable, and say, I will go another way.

When they look up and ask that just once, just for a moment or an hour or a night, let the universe blink, let whatever God there is change his mind, and let me change the way the stars spin. Sometimes the answer to that question is not what the questioner wishes, but it is always worth asking, because sometimes, so infrequently those moments are to be treasured always, sometimes, we get the answer we’re looking for.

The history of our country is filled with such moments, and not just in sport, though the metaphor is easy and the comparison apt. Think of women picketing a president in wartime, demanding the right to vote. Think of two unknown reporters for the Washington Post, busting the extra ball and bringing down a corrupt administration. Think of Howard Dean, standing in Boston, yes Boston, and saying, “This is not the way our country should go. This is not the act of a patriot.”

These moments don’t just come on the national stage, nor in the realm of politics. Think of the good people you know, the ordinary acts of heroism they perform. I have a dear friend who has dedicated his life to teaching, a mother who dedicated hers to acts of love and charity, a sister who has overcome unbelievable physical challenges to be bright and beautiful and kind. The examples they provide, and the example a bunch of ballplayers provided in St. Louis tonight, show that it is always possible to overcome. To reach up, and reach out, and show that we are more than we think we are. We are more, so much more, than we think we can be.

In the next six days, we will hear a lot about the odds we’re up against. Think, instead, about the streets of Boston tonight, about how they’re dancing, about how they’re going wild. Think about how much you want that all over this country on Nov. 3. Then think about curses, and history, and expectations, and how none of it, none of it at all, matters anymore.