The upheaval in our country today is pervasive. Regardless of what we think, we are surrounded by issues we must address.
It is easy to see how Covid-19 has influenced us, whether we believe it to be real. Those of us who have lost family or friends know that it is real. We are engaged in a new normal, a new normal that can only impact how Roy Hobbs Baseball events are managed.
Then there is the issue of racism. It is far more insidious while being incredibly subtle.
Over the years, Roy Hobbs Baseball has been clear that racist behavior, symbols or language are not acceptable at our events. We have set standards that welcome all races, creeds, nationalities and personal beliefs, set standards for our event staff and make every effort to model those standards through our daily behavior.
However, it is time for us to reaffirm our commitment to stand opposed to racism in all of its ugly forms.
Please know racist behavior, symbols or language are not acceptable at Roy Hobbs, and we will address it swiftly and firmly.
Language is easy; behavior can be more problematic. However, in the words of Justice Potter Stewart, we know it when we see it.
Is this a political statement? Not at all. That, itself, is a different element that now further divides us.
But rather, this is about treating each other with respect as well as empathy.
Baseball has a unique ability to bond us to one another, on the field, in the dugout, in the locker room and in the stands. It does not discriminate on safe and out, balls and strikes or its rules, which are locked together much like a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle. Baseball binds us together in a common purpose: striving for success … with respect and empathy for one another.
Baseball provides a level playing field. Problem is, off the field, it is a far different story, one we have ignored far too long.
Imagine what we might accomplish if we could be “life” teammates, cheer for and celebrate the success of our neighbor, of those we work with daily, of those we encounter as we shop, as we go out to eat, as we travel. Imagine what we could accomplish if we approached daily life as though we were all teammates, teammates that care about each other and whose lives matter to each other. Imagine what we could accomplish!
It’s really sad that the world of human endeavor cannot take what’s on the athletic field and translate it to our daily lives.
So, if we are to condemn racism, it’s important to embrace “Black Lives Matter.”
Every time I say or write that, the first response I usually get is “All Lives Matter.” I have always struggled with an answer other than to say, sure they do but if there were no systemic racism, the mantra would be unnecessary.
Kai Nilson, an Ohio Lutheran pastor, came to my rescue, and I paraphrase: When one of my kids gets hurt, it doesn’t seem to make sense to say to them, ‘All my kids matter.’ In that moment, I embrace my hurt child and say, ‘You matter. Your pain matters. Your healing and return to health matters.’ That doesn’t diminish my caring for my other kids. It expands my capacity to care as I live with another person’s pain.
If we are to address change in the self-evident, pervasive racism in our society, we need to walk miles in the shoes of others, we need to experience the world through their eyes, we need share in their pain, we need to see the world through the prism of the color of skin, we need to start expanding our capacity to care, and we need to BLOOM where we are planted.
At Roy Hobbs Baseball, we are working on those tasks and expect all those who take part in our celebrations of baseball to understand that’s who we are, what we do and that we determine what acceptable behavior is, both on a racial basis and otherwise.
June 10, 2020