FanPost

An Intellectual History Of Grit (For Real)


A favorite topic of some RR members, always brought up ironically, of course, has attracted the attention of a highly respected member of academia.  Intellectual historian Wilfred M. McClay has written a kind of short history of grit.  No, he doesn't mention the Royals, or any particular Royal, or any recent baseball players for that matter.  But he does trace how the term likely originated in America, much like our national pastime, and how it has strong democratic overtones.

This McClay paragraph in particular caught my attention:

Grit is a democratic virtue, the poor man's (or woman's) heroism, the common man's virtue represented by common stuff: by that granular resistance, that friction, that commonplace particulate material needed to hold the mortar together, that elemental stuff on which everything else in life depends. This collocation of meanings is not the least bit fanciful, and it is no mere coincidence. Consider the fact that the word sand had a similar meaning and usage in the nineteenth century, and was a favorite term of Mark Twain's; a person with unusual gutsiness and persistence was said to have "sand."

I think I first heard the term "sand" in Gangs of New York (the "sand of the Dead Rabbits").  I digress.

Anyway, it seems to me then that awarding the attribute of "grit" to a KC ballplayer is, at least in the eyes of McClay, a compliment of the highest order in America.  Indeed, anyone having the appropriate quotient of grit is probably our most uncommon common ballplayer. ;) - TL

This FanPost was written by a member of the Royals Review community. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the editors and writers of this site.

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