“A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” – Jackie Robinson
This morning as I watched Ken Burns interviewed on Face the Nation about his new documentary on baseball legend Jackie Robinson, I had a flashback to 6th grade. I was in the middle school library during study hall, searching for a book on the LA Dodgers for a book report. My dad and I were big fans but mostly I wanted to impress classmate crush Brad Blom with my baseball trivia knowledge. I remember pulling this book off the shelf as if it was yesterday. I was 12-years-old and a farm kid in rural Iowa where everyone I knew was white and my awareness of structural inequalities, or my own privilege, was nil.
Learning about Jackie Robinson’s experiences with racial injustice and writing that book report for Mrs. Terlouw’s English class set me on a path to eventually become an educator and scholar-activist in pursuit of the larger social justice project. It’s only now, today in fact, that I realize the significance and power of Robinson’s story for my own life. He once said, “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” Thanks, Jackie Robinson. Your legacy reaches far beyond baseball.
Oh, and Brad, if you’re reading this, Jackie Robinson played 1,382 games, had 4,877 at bats, a .311 life-time batting average, 734 RBIs, and 137 home runs.