The gift of life and the gift of winning.
October 28-30, 2011, may just go down as the greatest weekend for Missouri sports ever.
On Friday the Cardinals won their 11th World Series title in one of the greatest come-from-behind stories ever in sports. On Saturday the struggling Missouri Tigers traveled to College Station as 11-point underdogs and beat Texas A&M in overtime to mark Mizzou's first road victory over a Top 25 team in 14 years. Then, perhaps the greatest miracle of all, came Sunday when the previously winless St. Louis Rams knocked off the New Orleans Saints at the Edward Jones Dome by a score of 31-21. That's the same New Orleans' team, mind you, that hung 62 points on the Indianapolis Colts the week before.
So, how to explain these Missouri miracles? Not surprisingly, perhaps, some believe divine intervention was at work.
God was mentioned at least twice after that wacky Game 6 of the World Series in which the Cardinals twice found themselves one strike away from losing the series only to comeback and tie the game.
In a press conference following Game 6, Cardinals outfielder Lance Berkman, who drove in the game-saving RBI in the 10th inning, talked about his Christianity. He told reporters that he doesn't ask God for a big hit during games or the ability to make a great play. Instead, he just asks God to grant him inner peace so as to avoid distractions and let his natural ability shine.
In the Rangers' clubhouse that same night, Texas Rangers' outfielder Josh Hamilton said almost the exact opposite. He said God told him he'd hit a home run in Game 6, and he did. Hamilton's two-run blast (later erased by RBIs from Skip Schumaker and then Berkman) put the Rangers up by a score of 9 to 7.
Q: So, who was God routing for -- the Cardinals or the Rangers -- and did God also have a role in the Mizzou and Rams victories this weekend?
A: God only knows. Though, personally, I don't think God gives a rat's ass about who wins and loses in sports contests. I do think, however, that winning is contagious.
The Cardinals had nothing to lose in the World Series because they were never supposed to be there in the first place, coming from 10.5 games out of the wild card race in late August. That lucky and miraculous run allowed them to play loose and easy because they had nothing to lose. They crashed the party.
The same with Mizzou and the Rams this weekend. No one expected them to win those games and -- then -- they did. Before Saturday's game in College Station, Mizzou coach Gary Pinkel used the Cardinals' story to motivate his team. Several Cardinals players attended the Rams game yesterday at the Edward Jones Dome, and prior to the contest Cardinals' manager Tony La Russa visited the Rams players in the locker room.
"Tony came down and had on a Rams No. 8 (Bradford) jersey on," Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo
said. "It's really emotional and uplifting when somebody of that
stature comes in and shows you how much support you."
Whatever your spirituality, it's hard not to believe that the Cardinals' winning ways didn't rub off on the Tigers and the Rams. Winning is
infectious. Thank God for that.