Along with what seemed like everyone else in town (but it may have been only 800,000 people!) my wife, daughter and I went downtown yesterday afternoon for the Royals 2015 World Series victory parade and rally.
I’m not going to write about the parade, because we missed it. We saw the crowds and decided we needed to choose either the parade or the rally, so we went to the rally.
I’m not going to write about the rally, either. From where we were standing we could barely see, and we could hear only a few snatches at a time. It doesn’t matter, because everything you want to know about the rally, you can find online—including General Manager Dayton Moore’s touching thank you to Kansas City.
Instead, I’m going to write about how the parade and the rally together were more important than the victory they celebrated.
On the lawn in front of Liberty Memorial, in the midst of the crowd, looking down on the stage at Union Station, we realized we were part of something special—probably something unique. All of Kansas City (and I mean the whole metro—not just the cities that bear that name) was represented. All races, all ages, from every part of town. If there was a common theme, it was families. With kids out of school and parents off work, this was the biggest family holiday in the history of KC.
Except it was a holiday the way holidays were meant to be—without stress, without worries, without a thousand details in need of attention. It took us all by surprise, so we didn’t have time to overcomplicate it. We only had time for gratitude and joy—which made it as close to perfect as you’re going to get.
In a crowd estimated at more than three-quarters of a million people, police say there were no serious incidents and only three arrests.
Think about that for a moment. In a social and political climate where it seems you can’t get three people to agree about anything, 800,000 people agreed this was a day for peace, fellowship and good will. We agreed a team of young men who respect themselves, their opponents, their game and their city deserve our respect in return. And we agreed to respect them by respecting one another. This was real. This happened. And it was worth more than every baseball game ever won.
Winning the World Series is a fantastic achievement. I was 15 the last time the Royals brought home the trophy. I hope I don’t have to wait until I’m 75 for them to bring it home again. But it doesn’t hold a candle to a city of strangers treating one another like neighbors.
In the famous scene at the end of “Field of Dreams” the ghost of John Kinsella turns back to his son Ray and asks “Is this heaven?” Ray responds, “It’s Iowa.”
This is Kansas City, not Iowa. But yesterday, under a perfectly blue sky, a little bit of heaven shone through.
As we were leaving downtown, my wife had to turn out of a parking lot onto a street already packed with cars. The driver of the first car she saw let her in. “Everyone is so nice today,” I told her. “The Royals should always win the World Series, so we can do this every year.”
Brian S. Pauls is the president of PerAspera Consulting, LLC, providing comprehensive technology solutions–from the Web, to mobile devices, to the desktop. He doesn’t own any cornfields or baseball diamonds, but he always tries to go the distance.