Our country is built on competition: winning and losing defines success in sports, business, and daily life. We can become blinded by winning, sacrificing our family life for business success, or "taking the money" while sacrificing honor and ethics. Charles Schulz, creator of the Peanuts comic strip, reminded us of the honor in simply playing the game. His central character, Charlie Brown, the penultimate loser, always came back to play the game again. In almost fifty years, Charlie won one baseball game, never kicked that field goal, and snagged his kite in countless trees. Serious kitefliers might be dismayed that Charlie never got it right, but we can't imagine how many millions of people smiled at Charlie's hopeless attempts.
When Charles Schulz died on February 13th, his comics had been translated into over 60 languages. Newspapers all over the world carried the syndicated strip. Charlie Brown may well be the most famous kiteflier of the 20th Century. For those of us under fifty, we have never been without Charlie Brown, Lucy, Snoopy, and the rest. They are a part of our consciousness and we know immediately what will happen when Lucy holds the football, when Snoopy dons the flight glasses, or when Charlie picks up his trusty red kite. Good grief!
I've made a few red kites-I hope I always return to the game with Charlie's optimism. Thank you, Charles Schulz.