When I was ten years old, I got a trial with a Little League team, but I was cut by the coach just before the season started in favor of his 9-year-old son. The son wasn’t nearly as good at baseball as I was, but I understood the situation and accepted it without much fanfare. I figured at age 11, I’d have no problem making the Little League, and I’d be on some team for two years.
Much to my chagrin, at age 11, I wasn’t even considered for a team and went straight to what was called the farm team. This irked me. I had many friends in the Little League, and they wanted to know why I hadn’t been selected.
At age 12, the last year in which one can be in the Little League, I was selected by the Maple Hill Dairy team. This team had superstars who had won the crown the year before. They had lost a couple of players due to age but were still the best team on paper.
A Season of Distinction
During the 12-game season, I made six hits in 14 official at-bats, plus two walks and two sacrifice flies, for 18 total plate appearances. My batting average was .429. I didn’t know that this average put me in the upper echelon of team batting for that season.
When did I learn of my feat? During the season-ending awards ceremony, our coach was handing out trophies at the League banquet. He gave the first eight trophies, one by one, to players on the team. Then he announced that the remaining six were the pillars of our championship season. I was among them.
I had no idea. Apparently, neither did the coach until he had compiled the season’s statistics. In announcing my name, he said he wished he had understood earlier how well I had been hitting: he would have played me more.
His words were the highest praise I could have received following the season.
Singled Out for Merit
Today, if you attend a Little League awards banquet, the champions are given awards along with all others. Everybody receives an award for participation, much like what occurs in the larger society. Merit counts for little because the mentality today is simply participating, which means that you are worthy.
To hand out participation trophies is a sham; however, the same sham that’s taking place in many aspects of our culture. The Leftists among us are seeking to quash merit-based testing everywhere. Out with Scholastic Aptitude Tests (SATs), they’re racist. They’re sexist. They’re transphobic. Out with the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). Out with writing an essay to get into college. Out with letter grades.
So it goes into too many aspects of society.
Ah, but you and I don’t want to live in a meritless basic society. I guarantee that you don’t want to be operated on by a brain surgeon who went to a medical school where grades were not important. You don’t want to fly in a plane with pilots who have not proven both in testing and in flight simulation that they are fully capable.
You don’t want to drive over a bridge constructed by an engineer who went to a school where testing was deemed to be worthless or racist, or biased. We’ve come too far in human civilization to resort to a time when anybody could pick up a scalpel and perform surgery or where anyone could construct a bridge because in the early days, perhaps, almost anyone had to.
Credentials matter. Academic performance matters. Competence matters. Demonstrating one’s intellectual capabilities is among the vital signs that you’re being served by a professional.
Whom You Can Trust?
What other possible criterion would you suggest in place of merit? Participation? Ethnicity? Time on the job? Having friends in high places?
With many activities in life, merit is not a factor, but these are usually personal and private, contained, local, and not forced upon the public. Suppose it comes to a life-threatening situation, public safety, public health, the orderly flow of vehicular traffic, the health and welfare of children, etc.. In that case, I’ll take the high-performance testers every time.