Thank You Jackie Robinson: A Tribute to 42

George Silk/Getty Images Dodger Jackie Robinson rounds first during a game against the Giants.

I am certain many of us are not quite sure what day it is in the midst of the coronavirus. Days have just become hours and nothing really seems to matter. The clock ticks and we long for the day we are “free” again.

But today, today should be different. It’s a day to reminisce and a reminder of what our purpose is.

Today, April 15, 2020 marks the 73rd anniversary of the history-making game in which No. 42 Jackie Robinson took the field in a Brooklyn Dodgers uniform and became the first African-American in Major League Baseball.

Jackie Robinson didn’t just change baseball, he changed America itself.

The First of Many

Jackie took the field when segregation was the norm in America. He expanded the fanbase not only for the Brooklyn Dodgers but for the entire MLB and soon made an impact on all sports outlooks. At first, most people were against having a black player in the Major Leagues. Some players on the team requested trades and then there were some who refused to take the field with Jackie. One teammate, Pee Wee Reese genuinely befriended Jackie and stood up for him.

The man took several verbal beatings as he traveled across the country with the Dodgers. And sometimes the Dodgers were denied staying at hotels because they would not allow black people to sleep there.

After more than 60 years of racial segregation in major-league baseball, it all came to an end. Robinson became the first acknowledged black player to perform in the major leagues in the twentieth century. He became first to win the Most Valuable Player award. He also was the first to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. He won major-league baseball’s first official Rookie of the Year award and was the first baseball player, black or white, to be featured on a United States postage stamp.

On the 50th anniversary of the breaking barrier game, the MLB retired No. 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson. Every year on April 15, players, coaches and fans from all different walks of life will rep the No. 42. The coronavirus didn’t even stop people from virtually wearing No. 42 this year.

Thank You No. 42

One place you can go, politics aside, regardless of your differences, rich or poor, black or white and come together as a whole—the field, the court, the track, etc. A lot of thanks to Jackie Robinson.

Thank you, Jackie Robinson for paving the way for a better future in sports and America.

Thank you, Jackie Robinson for showing us that no matter how big the fight, it’s important not to give up.

Thank you, Jackie Robinson for showing us what leadership looks like.

Thank you, Jackie Robinson for showing us what courage looks like.

Thank you, Jackie Robinson for proving that it’s NOT “just a sport.”

Thank you, Jackie Robinson for proving that our differences aren’t really all that different.

Thank you, Jackie Robinson for being a constant reminder for generation after generation that barriers can be broken.

Thank you, Jackie Robinson for proving that it’s not really about “I” or “them” but that it’s about all of us fighting together to make a better future for the next generations to come.

Thank you, Jackie Robinson for bringing us together in more than just sports.

Thank you, Jackie Robinson for never giving up on us (America).

So, What’s Our Purpose?

Our purpose is to continue to build off of Jackie Robinson’s legacy.

“Life is not a spectator sport. If you’re going to spend your whole life in the grandstand just watching what goes on, in my opinion you’re wasting your life.”- Jackie Robinson

Thank you, Jackie Robinson for not wasting your life.

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