Sunday, November 3, 2013
It doesn’t matter how you start; it’s how you finish. Those are the words spoken by commentators on Sports Center the night after our North Carolina-born boy, James Taylor, sang the national anthem before the first pitch of game #2 of the World Series between the Boston Red Sox and the Saint Louis Cardinals. I didn’t see the event “live,” but I did watch the replay several times. There they were. The maximum capacity crowd in Boston standing to honor our nation and its flag. Hats were off, many had hands over their hearts.
All eyes on the flag and “Sweet Baby James,” and then, that familiar voice that all of us Carolina baby boomers grew up on began to sing. The words started to come: “How beautiful” and literally without missing a beat, our homeboy continued, “How beautiful, O say can you see.” He started off wrong with the opening words of “America, the Beautiful,” but he finished strong with the “Star-Spangled Banner,” and many folks never knew the difference—until Sports Center replayed it over and over again.
It’s not how you start; it’s how you finish that matters. James Taylor knew it. The Boston Red Sox knew it. Paul, in his letter called Hebrews, knew it. It’s how you finish that matters. (Full text PDF here.)