Print The Legend
The strange dusty road of Truth has many hairpin turns and hazy stretches. It collides with Myth at a billion miles per hour and leaves chunks of reality mixed in with lumps of fantasy. Yet truth is stranger than fiction. An example of that is that Richard Dawson, the host of Family Feud who recently passed away, married one of the contestants and that the descendants of the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s were contestants on the show in 1979 where they played for cash prizes and a pig. ( The Hatfields won).
Like in Western History there are some who believe that myth is more important than History. That myth transcends the truth, and like religion, is beyond fact. Truth is a much harder sell for we Americans don’t really study History we shop for it. Stephen Jay Gould , paleontologist, Harvard instructor, and a great baseball guy said that “humans have a psychic need for an indigenous creation of myth. That we need to come up with an explicit point of origin rather than accept that most beginnings are gradual and complex. We need to identify heroes and sacred places while evolutionary stories provide no palpable particular thing as a symbol for reverence, worship, or patriotism.”
Many Baseball heads credit Abner Doubleday for “inventing Baseball” one day in a cow pasture in 1839. Now Abner was a cool cat : a Union officer who is credited with firing the first cannon blast while defending Fort Sumter, which was the opening battle of the Civil War, and after the war he moved to San Francisco where he obtained the patent on the cable car , but he never claimed to have invented Baseball. The man who gave him posthumous credit for creating the sport was later judged ” criminally insane”on murder charges. There is clear evidence that our ” National pastime” evolved over decades from English games such as Rounders and Stool Ball. Now that cow pasture is where the Baseball Hall of Fame resides in Cooperstown , New York.
Rhode Island, which is not an island, got its name from a geographic mixup with Block Island, which Gio De Verrazzano thought resembled the Greek Island of Rhodes. ” California” is believed to derive it’s name from Calafia, queen of the tall black Amazons, whom 16th century Spaniards conjured up as occupiers of the Golden State. And two continents, North & South America, bore the name of Amerigo Vespucci, who never set foot upon them and wrote fantasies about lands he never saw.
As they said in “The Man who Shot Liberty Valance” when ” The Legend becomes fact, print the Legend.”