On April 15, 200 players, managers and coaches in Major League Baseball
—people of all colors—wore the number 42 on the 60th anniversary of Jackie Robinson
’s debut in the league as the first black player.
Mid April also marks a less celebrated day in American history as the time when annual income tax forms are due.
The month of April is a very historical time in the U.S., but while we honor some pastimes like baseball—and even getting our tax returns back—we forget to include some of the more gruesome events in our nation’s past.
Last week’s massacre at Virginia Tech
rang in another infamous anniversary: eight years ago last Friday, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 12 classmates and one teacher in the worst high school shooting in American history.
Yet with as much attention as Virginia Tech
received in American news sources last week, the media has already moved on to more current events. In fact, as of Monday, “sex” is the most searched item on The New York Times
Web site. On Fox News
’ site, the most read stories include the Donald Trump - Rosie O’Donnell feud and a new movie with a scene featuring Lindsay Lohan and Keira Knightley in a threesome; both stories prove more popular than the lone story concerning Virginia Tech
, which sits in the last spot of the top 16 articles.
What, then, in this month of many anniversaries and much history, is America’s true pastime?
Is it baseball, as we have often been told?
While baseball was once the institution that defied segregation laws by integrating the league years before our public schools were integrated, it no longer stands as the bastion of equality and fairness that it did in Jackie Robinson
’s day. Barry Bonds
, though never proven, probably cheated and juiced his way to the number two spot on baseball’s venerated all-time home run leaders list. While in the twilight of his career, a time when most sluggers see a steep drop off in home run production, Bonds hit more dingers than he ever previously had in his time in the majors. This season he will likely break Hank Aaron
’s record of 755, and in doing so, he will set sports in America back decades and replace baseball’s once sterling image of equality with a simple message: cheaters can win.
Is freedom under the Constitution
our pastime then, as we are taught in grade school?
To answer that question, we might take a look at the very schools where we learn that idea. Our generation has experienced a monumental and previously unseen breakdown in its educational institutions. Once a place of learning, growth and freedom through knowledge, our schools have descended into a landscape of fear and disconnectedness. Those hallways and classrooms of progress and achievement have become crime scenes; elementary schools, middle schools, high schools and universities have all been targets of domestic terrorism
—with the students as the would-be terrorists
. Thus, there is a creeping fear in the hearts and minds of the youth today. No longer can our nation’s children believe this to be the land of the free, when they cannot even escape the fear of possible destruction even in a place of supposed betterment.
In light of last week’s events and our forsaking of them in favor of the current events of this week, this day, and even this very hour, perhaps our national pastime is ignoring that past. And in holding up ignorance of the past, we are setting ourselves up for colossal failures in the future.
In the face of a media which thrives on that ignorance, perhaps the time has come not to forget, but to remember.
We must remember that we are capable of horrible violence and destruction, but that we can choose a different path.
We must remember those fallen children in our nation’s schools, and stand up against fear and the disconnection that begs our attention in the information age.
This spring, we must remember—every now and then—to turn off the TV, close the laptop, and head outside with our friends, maybe for a pick up game of baseball.
America is still the home of the brave. We must remember to take our country back, one day at a time, one baseball field at a time, one school at a time.
Lest we forget