The Number “42”

I never realized just how powerful the number 42 could be. My youngest child recently told me that she was reading about this man named Jackie Robinson in her reading program for school. She told me he was a baseball player for the Brooklyn Dodgers and then her curious mind went to work.

“Daddy, can you tell me more about Jackie Robinson?”

And then I thought for a minute:

Most people have heard of him at one point or another, but do they really know what his “experience” entailed?

Even if you know about Jackie, chances are there are parts of his story that you don’t. But let’s start with his #42. It is the only number retired by every team in Major League Baseball (MLB). And every year there is a day where every single player in baseball wears that number.

He won the rookie of the year award, but more importantly he broke the color barrier that the sport knew all too well. You see, the president and general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers had thought for a long time to integrate baseball, and he was waiting for the right man to show up. He decided Jackie should be that man due to not only his skill, but his integrity and character. And he made his appearance onto a major league diamond on April 15th, 1947. We also see the 15th of April as a day we don’t like to be reminded of because our taxes are due (at least in the US…as I have some followers that reside overseas). But the day is actually quite special.

Jackie had been an athletic star during high school and then at UCLA. He actually left school early to join the Army and was commissioned as an officer.

I don’t have to tell you that Jackie’s story is anything short of amazing. The pain. The heckling. The bus trips to towns that were not accepting of the color of his skin. The inability to stay in certain hotels or use certain bathrooms. Jackie was able to overcome all of this. And what is the most amazing part of all is that he was able to change the hearts and minds of his critics.

The man could play the game as well as anyone who took to the diamond with him. Opposing teams maintained there negative perspective. Teams refused to play the Dodgers if Jackie was taking the field.

Jackie maintained his professional demeanor and held back his emotions, not letting the anger that was brewing within his heart and mind come out of his skin. He exuded patience, humility and the ability to remain humble despite his great skill and the continued abuse he was exposed to.

Jackie’s story is one about OVERCOMING, and STRENGTH, and INTEGRITY and so much more.

I have two Calls To Action for you today:

What can you do to be more accepting of others?

What is holding you back from achieving your own greatness? Is it the critics that you have chosen to surround yourself with? Is it your own fear of failure? Whatever it is, get over it and start becoming YOU.

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