Baseball Magazine

Happy July 4th

By Meachrm @BaseballBTYard

Last week I helped my college coach run a baseball camp that was about an hour from my house.  To get there, I had to drive right through Valley Forge National Park.  On the way there and back I passed by George Washington’s Headquarters and the rolling hills where his army camped for that famous winter of 1777-1778.

Washington's Headquarters and the Valley Forge Memorial.  Valley Forge, PA

Washington’s Headquarters and the Valley Forge Memorial. Valley Forge National Park, PA

As a social studies teacher who knows a good deal of the history of our War for Independence, it always moves me when I go through Valley Forge Park.  The fact that a rag-tag group of farmers with very little military training defeated the most accomplished army in the world is more than a surprising upset.  It was a miracle.  On the way, our future first President had to endure the following and a whole lot more:

  • Hardly any winter clothes and shoes for his men over the Philadelphia winter.
  • A heavily unsupportive population surrounding Valley Forge that largely thought breaking away from Britain was a stupid idea.  This includes the woman who owned the house Washington used as his headquarters.  She apparently gave him quite an earful about the folly of this war before vacating.
  • The daily thought that he might wake up to find all his men had given up and gone home to their farms and families.
  • Backstabbing by politicians and other generals who wanted Washington replaced.  Some of which delayed food/clothes shipments to Valley Forge to make Washington look bad in the eyes of his army.  
  • Shelters were to have been built in advance of the army’s arrival to Valley Forge.  This was promised by the politicians and generals.  Not a single one was built for them which forced them to camp outside until they could make their own.

And you thought dealing with parents was bad!

You read all this and more and have to wonder, “How in the world did we win?”  But we did.  And we are free because of it.

Look around and there will be lots of things to criticize about America.  Unlike most countries, we think airing out our dirty laundry for the world to see is a strength.  Others see it as a weakness and jump at the chance to point out our faults.  However, in under 250 years, our country has blown past every other civilization in terms of economic development, military strength, technological advancement, and standard of living.  Many of those civilizations had many centuries of a head start and most of them currently lag far behind.

Many outsiders think this all happened by luck – that we just kind of fell into prosperity through some unfair advantage.  This is true.  We did have an unfair advantage.  We chose to create a free society where people can make their own decisions about what they want to do with their lives.  Free to speak their minds.  Free to keep the fruits of their labor.  We created a society where for the first time in human history, basic rights were not given to us by any government.  We had all of them simply by being a human being.  We, in turn, gave the government the rights we wanted them to have.   

On this Fourth of July, enjoy your family, celebrate, relax, and play some baseball.  But don’t forget what this holiday is about.  Remember the men at Valley Forge and what they had to go through so that we can have a burger and a beverage while knocking that Whiffle Ball around.  And keep your head down on the ball!

All the best and thanks again for being a reader of Baseball By The Yard!

Next post will be on Monday!  Enjoy the weekend!

Coach McCreary

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