- The Washington Times - Friday, December 3, 2004

Nobles: Sgt. Maj. James R. Jordan, for extending a life of service just a little bit longer.

Let’s get the obvious out of the way: Yes, Sgt. Maj. Jordan is older brother to that Jordan, as in Michael, the basketball star.

Last weekend, the elder Jordan made headlines after asking to extend his service in the Army one year beyond his mandatory retirement date so he could complete a deployment to Iraq with his 35th Signal Brigade. “We’re currently at war,” Sgt. Maj. Jordan said. “We are doing things, and it requires leaders to do certain things. That’s what I am, a leader.”

And his example is being followed. Despite the recent headlines decrying the extension of duty for thousands of soldiers, many more are choosing to re-enlist. The New York Post reported that of the Army’s 10 active-duty divisions, nine are exceeding re-enlistment goals by 5 percent or more. Sgt. Maj. Jordan’s decision is not unusual at all.

One final point: Having attained the rank of sergeant major, Mr. Jordan is the highest ranking noncommissioned officer in his brigade. Sometimes success just runs in the family.

For giving it one more year in our country’s hour of need, Sgt. Maj. Jordan is the Noble of the week.

Knaves: New York Yankee Jason Giambi, for cheating baseball fans.

When President Bush raised the problem of steroids in sports during his State of the Union address in January, many scoffed at the inclusion of a seemingly trivial issue at the expense of more pressing ones. The criticism was unfair, and now we understand why.

Giambi admitted to using steroids in a grand jury testimony last December, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Thursday. Also illegally enhancing his performance, according to the Chronicle, is super-slugger Barry Bonds, who some say is the best player in baseball. These revelations, as disturbing as they are to the sport of baseball, further erode what professional sports once revealed about the American character.

In the movie “Field of Dreams,” James Earl Jones remarked: “This field, this game is part of our past. It reminds us of everything that was once good and could be again.” It has always been an idyllic description, easily derided by cynics. Yet, one wonders if anyone could rightly use those words today without sounding hopelessly naive.

For further damaging a diminishing piece of Americana, Mr. Giambi is the Knave of the week.

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