NASELLE - Former commissioner of baseball and Yale University President, A. Bartlett Giamatti said, "To know America is to understand baseball." Well, Ed Engelson and Bert Haven know their baseball. And by a simple, unseen act, they proved they know what has made America great, also.

At the end of school last spring, Naselle High School staff and students played a softball game won by the staff 25-6. The staff team decided to bat in descending order of age. Being the elder statesmen of the group, Engelson and Haven hit one-two in the lineup, both going 4-4 and running the bases with impeccable judgment. Engelson in left-center and Haven at shortstop were nothing short of brilliant defensively, while younger players from both sides often threw to the wrong base or made base running blunders.

But this is not about exceptional play in a friendly softball game. When the 100 or so students departed for the day, the well-behaved group left behind a smattering of popcorn bags, candy wrappers, and plastic drink containers in the bleachers.

Engelson and Haven took five minutes of their time and cleaned up every last piece of trash, giving the crows a snack of leftover popcorn to boot.

They didn't wait for government to fix the minor problem, nor did they ignore the situation and let someone else take care of it, as would have surely happened. The two guys, both excellent family men, employees, volunteer coaches, and friends, just pitched in and did what was needed.

Will future generations take the time to learn baseball? More importantly, will future generations adopt the values of Engelson and Haven and then have the conviction to carry them out?

They'd better.

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