On this date in history, August 8, 1974. Richard M. Nixon (I am not a crook!) became the first and only President to resign from office. Just 10 months earlier his corrupt, tax evading, bribe taking Vice President, Spiro Agnew, had resigned in disgrace also.
On this date in history, August 8, 1863, General Robert E. Lee offered his resignation after a resounding defeat at Gettysburg. Davis refused to accept it.
Quitting when you’re ahead usually doesn’t happen. We see athletes’ abilities quit on them before they finally retire. In their defense, who wants to give up 25 million a year just because their knees, shoulders and skills have already quit?
The Catholic Church is famous for quitting when you’re behind. Many priests have quit, mostly by force. Cardinal Law resigned his position in Boston after he covered up an incredible amount of sexual abuse by his priests. One priest alone raped or abused over 130 children and the Cardinal masterminded the cover-up and helped in shifting this criminal priest from parish to parish. And this wonderful Cardinal made secret settlements of abuse claims for more than 70 of his parish priests. Of course resigning didn’t hurt his employment opportunities because good old Pope John Paul II appointed Cardinal Law to a high position in Rome.
Speaking of Rome, Pope Benedict resigned in 2013 because he said he was tired. What? You’re supposed to die while Pope, that’s the history of the job. But, he still gets to be called Pope, wear the white Popie colors and he moved into a beautiful monastery that he had renovated. Cushy. And he didn’t have to deal with his money-laundering mob money bank nor his complacency in covering up thousands of priest abuse cases. He quit while he was behind. Just like Nixon. Just like Agnew. Smart? Maybe.
At one time I was a boxing fan. No more. Back in the day, so to speak, Sugar Ray Leonard was one of the all-time great welterweights. His greatest rival was another excellent slugger named Roberto Duran. Duran insulted Leonard on numerous interviews right up to their first fight. The insults worked on Leonard’s mind and he didn’t fight his usual style of fancy footwork and excellent boxing. He stood toe to toe with Roberto thinking he would out punch him. He didn’t. Duran won and became champion. This was in June of 1980. A rematch was guaranteed. It was scheduled for six months later. They met in November of 1980 at a sold-out Superdome in New Orleans. Sugar Ray used his brain this time and danced and boxed. He hit Duran at will for eight rounds. At the end of the eighth round Roberto Duran turned to the referee and said, “NO MAS.” He quit while he was behind.
I can’t let this date in history go by without saying something about the Cubs. This is a famous date for the Cubbies. Just 53 years after everyone else had been playing night time baseball the Chicago Cubs invested some money in lights and played their very first ever game at Wrigley field with lights turned on. This was in 1988. Everything was in place. Morgana, the kissing bandit, was even there. If you don’t know about her, you are young.
Oh yeah, the Cubs won.
Don’t Quit! You’re ahead!
This is your year.