April 15th is Jackie Robinson Day, the day named in honor of my numero uno hero of all time, who broke the Major League Color Barrier, and with the aid of Branch Rickey, destroyed the gentleman's agreement that divided the Major Leagues from the Negro Leagues into white and non-white.
Obviously, Parkinson's disease isn't a kid's game with a bat and a ball, but Jackie's determination, strength, courage, and resilience are all about overcoming disability. For this, we, too, are up with a runner on second, down by one with two outs in the ninth. We need to get the run in. We need to keep our healthcare options, therapeutic options, legal support, and our rights to be ourselves and not a condition as long as possible. Here, we can learn a lot from sports of all sorts.
Additionally, we people with disabilities are looked upon in derogatory ways, but due to the bravery and struggle of others, we overcome and are empowered in a way that makes our lives easier than for those people who came before us. That means something to me as a baseball fan, a guy with Parkinson's, and a member of the human race.
For this, I will never stop paying respect to this great man and his equally awesome wife who stood up against abuse right by his side.
Robinson took incredible abuse to do this. His wife and young child weren't spared from the hatred and threats either. In this, the movie 42 is fantastic, but for all the racism it shows, it doesn't get down to the evil Jackie faced in a way that made those who stood with him say, "You must take this. It's not because you're a coward, but it's because your opponents want you to show hate and violence so they can have reason to evict you and stop all other people who aren't 'the right kind of white' from the game of baseball."
We all know how the story ends. The league becomes integrated SLOWLY, and today, Jackie's stance, which came before the integration of the US military and the Civil Rights Movement, ignited and inspired others to do the same.
Robinson and his wife were class. Rickey was class, even if he recognized the chance to win as much as to integrate and right injustice. People come to places for different reasons, but in the end, they do right by their decisions.
Here, we're all beautifully imperfect.
I was looking back at something I wrote in the summer of 2016, which was the summer before I was diagnosed with Parkinson's. I was applying for an education job, and I sat down and listed out what it would mean for me.
Obviously, things didn't happen for a reason, but... thinking about it now... it makes me wonder.