Ah, the little red bird that does not fly away when the winter comes. It sticks around to weather the snow and cold. Perseverance is a cardinal virtue. So, is remaining a cardinals’ fan over a lifetime. These football heroes were not my first cardinal team. The baseball cardinals of the 1960’s were. I am being honest here because honesty is also a cardinal virtue.
They were the champions of the NFL before I was born, as proven by this championship ring from 1947. Winning is not a cardinal virtue, but working hard enough to be the champion reveals that consistency and a good work ethic are.
They had heroes that made the Football Hall of Fame, and they were generally not racist because Ollie Matson was breaking the color barrier at around the same time as Jackie Robinson in baseball.
I’d like to say that I learned not to be a racist from rooting for the Cardinals, but I never saw the Chicago Redbirds on TV, or knew anything about them until I was arguing with Minnesota Vikings fans about the merits of rooting for a team that never wins. I did research. I won the argument when the Vikings lost their first Superbowl to the Kansas City Chiefs. The first of many lost Vikings’ Superbowls/
The search for truth, undertaken with upright motivations is also a cardinal virtue.
The Cardinals were in St. Louis in the 1970’s for what I look at as the “Glory Years.” They had great players like Larry Wilson, Hall-of-Fame Safety, Quarterback Jim Hart, Running Back Otis Anderson, Tight End Jackie Smith, Reciever Mel Gray, and Halfback Terry Metcalf. Don Coryell and Bud Wilkerson were the coaches that took them into the playoffs where they never quite won it all. But there were some very intense games in those playoffs where they both won and lost by inches.
In those “Cardiac Cardinals’ games” I learned to never give up. One time Mel Gray came through in the final minutes, catching the ball at the goal line as time expired… but fumbling… but-but not before, the replay official determined twenty minutes later, crossing the goal line and winning the game.
Sometimes the thrill of the hunt supersedes the final outcome.
And, of course, it is a cardinal virtue to never say die.
Now, the Cardinals, located in Arizona, are at it again. They have a new potential MVP in Quarterback Kyler Murray. And yesterday they extended their unbeaten streak to six games. They are currently the only undefeated team in the NFL. I have high hopes again. High apple pie in the sky hopes. And I may learn another virtue or two.