This is the 25th Anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr Day. For some, it just means a day out of school or off work. But for many (and I hope for most) it is a day to reflect on the progress we've made as a country in respect to our race relations and attitude as a country towards each other (in all respects) and a recognition of how far we have to go. Martin Luther King, Jr stood for something bigger than himself. His dream is well documented and something we should all be dreaming. Equality, fairness, acceptance, generosity. These are all things we want for ourselves and things that should be wished upon our fellow human beings.
We're not perfect. But that doesn't mean we can't try. Black or white is ultimately a superficial difference that we have to power to overcome. Sports is an arena where the differences are often expounded upon and highlighted and documented. But it's also an arena where we can watch persons of all backgrounds working for a common goal, even if that goal can sometimes seem trivial, as was the case with the first Yankees game after 9/11. Or even recently with the national championship being played just days after the shootings in Tucson. But sports also has the cathartic ability to heal and bring us together.
Most stories about a player overcoming odds stacked against them and breaking down race barriers have been about black athletes, and rightly so. Jackie Robinson will always be a hero and a catalyst for change in American history. Even athletes such as today's black quarterbacks continue to struggle against the grain and change the game.
I was checking ESPN.com today, as I'm wont to do, and I came across a really interesting story of adversity, redemption, struggle, and ultimately acceptance that I wanted to share.
It's a great story of the best about sports. A white quarterback gets a second chance at an Historically Black College, Jackson State.
The article is by Pat Forde. Here's the link: http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/columns/story?columnist=forde_pat&id=6021619
Sports a place where we can showcase our heroes and villians, the good and the bad, comebacks and second chances. I love the way a game can transcend and become so much more than that. A game can become an avenue of change, or a platform for progress, or just something to take our minds off the world that seems to press down on us at times. Ultimately, it can be a place of hope. And hope is a powerful thing.