It seemed as if all was lost in baseball’s National League Championship Series. The St. Louis Cardinals had been baseball’s toughest out, rallying numerous times against adversity throughout the regular and postseason to get to this point. The Cardinals were up 3-1 in the NLCS series, only one win away from a return trip to the World Series. They had three chances to clinch the spot.
The San Francisco Giants refused to move out of their path. Facing elimination, the Giants chose to compete and proved themselves the better squad this postseason. Even more impressive is that the team has made the entire run without their All-Star closer Brian Wilson (injured earlier this season) and All-Star outfielder Melky Cabrera (suspended for steroids).
Down two games to none in the NL Division Series, San Francisco won three straight to advance to the NLCS. The team was down early, but would not falter as they became the third team in MLB’s National League history to overcome a 3-1 deficit in the league championship series.
First it was long-time criticized Barry Zito in Game 5. After being awarded the richest contract in baseball history for a pitcher in 2006, Zito struggled to perform even close to expectations. His time in San Francisco was largely considered a failure, but there he was taking the mount with his team’s back against the wall. And Zito threw the game of his life, going 7 2/3 innings without giving up a run.
Game 6 was another opportunity for St. Louis, but another strong pitching performance by Ryan Vogelsong gave the Giants a win and forced the winner-take-all Game 7 last night. San Francisco’s ace Matt Cain took the mound in the bottom of the first inning with a one-run lead – and that is all the All-Star needed. Cain shut down St. Louis batters and the Giants offense exploded for nine runs to give them the deciding series victory and ticket to the 2012 World Series.
There is much to glean from the Giants’ magical run. Each one of us will face adversity. You will find your back against the wall at least once in this life. Most likely, between work, relationships, health, and just living day to day, you will find yourself up against the wall with no where else to turn more than once.
This is the moment when we all find what we are able capable of, how strong we truly are. We should never look at these moments as if they were created to break us. Instead, adversity presents the best opportunity to strengthen us. When adversity strikes, there is only one response that will get us through. Compete.
No matter what we face, we can make it through if we make the choice to compete every day – even if the odds are overwhelmingly stacked against us. Like the Giants, even a 3-1 deficit in life is not insurmountable.
People find out how strong they are when they choose to compete with their back against the wall. Hat tip to the San Francisco Giants for showing the world they live to compete every day. Written off down 3 games to 1, the Giants showed the world they have the heart of a champion.