Imagine 800,000 Kansas City Royals baseball fans gathered together chanting in unison, “Let’s go royals!” The #RoyalParade crowd was comprised of people of all races and backgrounds with one thing on their minds, and that was celebration. But what was it about the 2015 Kansas City Royals team that caused men, women, boys and girls to stand for hours just to see a group of baseball players?
As I stood in the midst of this sea of people dressed in royal blue apparel, I was captivated by the excitement and the spirit of unity. It was amazing to see strangers enjoying each others’ company while being in an “uncomfortable state” as there were so many people crammed into the area that it was virtually impossible to move, sit and even make it to the limited restroom facilities. I witnessed people who were open to help others in need. I even found myself acting, as my wife called me, “Mr. Good Samaritan” by assisting a young lady who had nearly passed out at the event.
As the crowd grew it became increasingly difficult to see and experience the Kansas City Royals parade and all of the various aspects of the event. However, individuals began to use mobile devices and other technologies to capture moments which were subsequently shared with all. These moments could be experienced via the hundreds of thousands of selfies posted on social media or the drone aerial video footage which allowed the world to grasp the magnitude of this historic event. It was truly refreshing to be in that atmosphere as I felt an overwhelming sense of hope. At that moment I realized this type of environment was the key to the Kansas City Royals success. What I was experiencing was the Royal Way. The Kansas City Royals are the 2015 World Series Champions because they understood how to maximize the value of unified diversity by creating a culture of perpetual hope. Dayton Moore, who is the General Manager and architect behind putting together this team of world champion hopefuls, put a high emphasis on skill but an even higher emphasis on attitude and character as he strategically selected players such as World Series MVP Salvador Perez, who doesn’t speak the best English but is an amazing leader and source of encouragement on and off the field.
As America and the world watched the Kansas City Royals battle inning after inning and game after game while under extreme pressure, we saw the Royal Way emerge in phenomenal ways. The Royal Way showed itself in the form of humility. In every interview and with every success I never once heard a player or coach take the credit for themselves. In other words there were absolutely no big I’s or little you’s within the Royals organization. A defining example of this is Royals first round draft pick Christian Colon, who came off of the bench to make the game winning hit in the final game of the series. When Christian was interviewed after the astonishing win he gave credit for his hit to Jonny Gomes, who while on the bench gave Colon the advice that prepared him to make Major League Baseball history. Leading up to this historic at-bat, Colon had not played much. However, we would frequently see him cheering his teammates on with an outstanding attitude. In addition, Colon is a very well spoken bilingual man who made himself available to interpret for his Dominican teammates as they did postgame interviews. This team was truly a pleasure to watch and easy to root for as America’s team, not solely because of their skill but also because of their character and their relentless perseverance and resilience.
As Americans we should glean from the 2015 Kansas City Royals’ never-give-up approach to the game of baseball. Though the trajectory of the country has been volatile at best, we can never lose sight of our ultimate goal of a healthy U.S. economy powered by people with humble hearts of compassion, hope and the will to succeed. We must see ourselves as royalty and more importantly we must treat our fellow Americans as royalty by remaining honest, respectful and supportive. I believe the Royal Way is the American Way which does not include a culture that supports dictatorship nor does it include anarchy. However it does include the development of peacemakers, character building and constructive competition and cooperation. On that note I’d like to end by saying, “Be Royal America!” Now is the moment for us move this country forward in a positive manner with an unshakable belief that we have the potential, the skill and the character to once again #TakeTheCrown!
• Jabbar Wesley is an entrepreneur, father of three and mentor.