St. Louis will take a much needed time-out next week. For a few days we will forget about flash floods, heat advisories, automobile plant closings, brewery buy-outs, falling home values and rising gasoline prices. We are going to the All-Star Game. Not all of us will make it inside the gates of the stadium, but we will be able to share in the pride and glory of this unique American tradition. Other sports All-Star Games just do not seem to have the impact of baseballís mid season classic. Who won the NHL All-Star Game this year?
What gives baseballís All-Star Game so much impact is its central purpose: In its ideal form, the All-Star Game is about giving recognition to the best of the best. Millions play the game. Thousands play it for a living. A few hundred make it to the big leagues and only four dozen or so will walk on to the field at Busch Stadium. Only election to Cooperstown brings greater acclaim to the chosen few who make it.
We need to find a way to bring All Star recognition to people who make a difference in our lives everyday. Imagine going to a movie and receiving a ballot before the film begins. The ballot is local. On the ballot are the names of people in our region who are the best of the best in what they do. For starters there should be at least ten positions to vote for, such as best registered nurse, best rookie school teacher, best municipal manager, best firefighter, best high school principal. You get the idea. We start voting in June and by July 15th or the Sunday closest to that date, we announce our own all stars at the start of a Cardinals game. The point is, we could all use a little adoration once in a while.
(The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of St. Louis Public Radio.)
Mark Shook is Rabbi Emeritus at Temple Israel.