Article Overview:  What do Ernest Hemmingway's Santiago from the Old Man & The Sea and Florida Marlin 72-year-old coach, Jack McKeon, have in common?   Does the Age of Vigilance know no age?   Can the old and young combine forces to become World Champions?  Find out.


Sunday--October 26, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 774
Marlin's Spear Beast Of Terror At Yankee Stadium
Cliff McKenzie
   Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

GROUND ZER0, New York, N.Y.--Oct. 26, 2003-- One of the greatest stories of man versus nature is Ernest Hemmingway's Old Man And The Sea. 

         It's about a old, weathered fisherman named Santiago who sets out in his boat to catch the biggest fish, and redeem his position as a "man among men."  He seeks to stand tall in the eyes of a young boy, a reminder to youth that age has the ability to fight for its glory just as much as the young must.

Josh Beckett, 23, shut out the Yankees

     Age Terrorizes many of us as gravity and time whittle away at our energy, our dreams, our ability to face reality with the endless enthusiasm of youth.   Hemmingway's Old Man And The Sea was as much a book about a man battling the Beast of Age as it was about a downtrodden, old fisherman battling one of the sea's greatest prizes--a huge marlin.
      Last night, the Yankees, a dazzling team of top-notch baseball players whose combined salaries exceed $165 million, were shut out in the sixth game of the World Series by a 23-year-old pitcher named Josh Beckett.  Beckett's manager, like Hemmingway's "old man of the sea," was an example of 72-year-old leadership in the battle between nature and wisdom.
      The Florida Marlins combined players' salary is about one-third that of the New York Yankees.  The Yankees have won the World Series 26 times.  The Marlins only once.   The Yankees incredible winning record has been created in what is called the "house of Babe."   It was called that because when the Yankees bought Babe Ruth from the Boston Red Sox the fans crowded to see the great hitter.  His presence justified the building of a new stadium.

Yankee Stadium opened on April 18, 1923 and was dubbed "the house that Ruth built"

             When Yankee Stadium opened on April 18, 1923, it was dubbed "the house that Ruth built" because Babe Ruth drew so many fans his presence justified the building of the stadium.   The "Babe" hit a three-run homer during the inaugural game, to help the Yankees beat the Boston Red Sox, 4-1.   He became the prime Yankee "ghost.

....Gehrig.....and countless others

Yankee ghosts are the Sentinels of Baseball Vigilance.....the Babe......Dimaggio......

           These "Yankee ghosts" might be called Sentinels of Baseball Vigilance--great players of the past who float above the Bronx location of Yankee Stadium and urge the players to "hit one for the Babe"...or for Joe Dimaggio, Mickey Mantle...or Lou Gehrig...or any of the countless former Yankee legends whose faces are embossed in brass plates around the stadium.
       But now, there is a new one.

Jack McKeon (center) coached the Florida Marlins to a World Series victory over the mighty Yankees

        It is the "Old Man of the Baseball Sea:"--Jack McKeon, the septuagenarian of modern baseball.  McKeon was playing with his grandchildren in North Carolina when he got a call in mid-season from the Florida Marlins about coaching the team.   He is the oldest coach today's major leagues, and third oldest in baseball history, following legends Connie Mack and Casey Stengel.
      Like Hemmingway's Santiago, McKeon set out in a turbulent sea to prove the worth of age, to remind the world that a man or woman is as old as he or she believes.
      His wisdom of life revitalized the Marlin's youthful team, and, under his leadership, he speared the greatest of all fish in the baseball sea--the New York Yankees.
     One might liken his battle as a wild card upstart team to that of Santiago's battle with the great marlin.    Game after game, he clung to the rope, using all his skills to steer the team's attitude and expertise into the World Championship Circle.

McKeon  with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1949

       McKeon's baseball career started with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1949 where he played as a catcher.  He managed in the minors for 15 years hiring on with the Royals.  He managed Oakland and became the general manager of the Padres.  There he acquired the nickname of Trader Jack because of his many deals.  His career lasted until the year 2000 when the Cincinnati Reds let him go as manager.   Like Hemmingway's Santiago, he sat on the beaches of baseball as the other fishermen went out to land their catch, sharing his wisdom and life's experience with his grandkids.
      Then he hooked onto a star.
       And, he landed it.
      While most sports pundits look at Jack McKeon as an "old man of baseball," I see him as a "young man of Vigilance."
      Vigilance is about facing one's Fears with Courage, embracing one's Intimidations with Confidence, and taking Right Actions that drive aside the mountains of Complacency that tend to stop one from moving forward when the gravity of life bears down and buckles one's knees.
       McKeon's grandchildren learned a great lesson from their grandfather.   They learned a person can always be a winner, no matter how old or how difficult the obstacles that face him or her.
        As America's and the world's population ages, there is a greater and greater demand for the older, more experienced in life to stand up to the plate and remind the youth that Vigilance rules always over Terrorism.
       While McKeon is an example of Vigilance of Age over Terrorism of Age, his victory is ageless.

McKeon, an example of Vigilance of Age over the Terrorism of Age, passes on his wisdom to the young

     The young sometimes feel old.   Like a person who has spent most of his or her life seeking success, the young often feel defeat, failure, emptiness far before their time.    The child who gives up on his or her homework because he or she feels "stupid" or "not as smart as" needs the Jack McKeon wisdom of the older generation to remind him or her that anything is possible if you stick to your guns--if you refuse to let the Beast of Terror rob you of your youth, your dreams, your ability to stand above Fear, Intimidation or Complacency.
        That's why a Parent or Grandparent or Loved One of Vigilance is necessary today.   We need to pass on to our children, or our youthful loved ones, that the world of Terrorism can be banished from our thoughts and deeds with the help of others.
        Age can mean wisdom.   It can also mean Complacency and defeat.   It all depends on how willing we are to pass on our wisdom to the young, to the eager to learn, to the children of the future.
       I am both a Parent and Grandparent of Vigilance.   I owe it to my children and their children to set an example of life and vitality, and to be willing to face my Fears of Age, and Intimidations of Life, and Complacencies of Living with the same zest and zeal as Santiago did in Hemmingway's Old Man & The Sea, or Jack McKeon just exampled by winning the World Series.
      You can join the Jack McKeon team.

Join the Jack McKeon Team of Vigilance

      You can be a World Series of Vigilance team player.
      Just download the Pledge of Vigilance, and become a Parent or Grandparent of Vigilance.
      The "ghosts" of the Children's Children's Children will be cheering for you.  So will Casey Stengel and Connie Mack.  And, of course, the newest Sentinel of Vigilance, Jack McKeon.


Oct. 25--Castrating The Dogs--A Newlyweds' Dilemma

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