"A life is not important, except on the impact it has on other lives." ~ Jackie Robinson
I read this quote on facebook yesterday. It was posted by a man with whom I was childhood friends. A man who, at the age of four or five, came over to our house with a baseball mitt and asked my twin brother and I to play. He had just moved in with his family across the street. It was the beginning of years and years of constant ball playing, and a lifetime of a love for the sport.
As I read this quote, memories of my childhood enveloped me. The long days of summer that began immediately after we shoveled hasty breakfasts down our throats. We played beneath the tall trees on our block which shielded us from the sun and housed the ever-present chirping cicadas. Some days, I only took off my mitt in order to eat a quick and meager lunch, and every day, headed back home, sadly, when the street lights came on. This quote quickly awakened me to the fact that that young boy, years ago, most likely changed my life forever.
My twin, Josh, knew everything about baseball. He could quote the stats of any ball player, tell you who won every World Series and who the winning team beat, he could even tell you about the managers. He was the one who taught me about Jackie Robinson.
Jackie Robinson did not only change the game of baseball, he changed the world, many times over. He changed the world when he became the first athlete to win Varsity letters in four sports at UCLA, when he was court-martialed for objecting to racial discrimination while he was serving in the military, and most famously, when he pioneered the integration of baseball in 1947. Jackie Robinson understood his impact on the lives of others and behaved in a way that would benefit millions of people. He loved baseball. He loved winning. But his life was lived, quite consciously, in a way that benefited the world around him.
Jackie Robinson affected others by taking risks, by speaking up for others, and by putting his heart into everything he did. The man gave a shit. He engaged in his life in a way that provided a better world for him, yes, but he also gave us all a great gift. The gift of a life lived with courage and great love.
This is the definition of a badass. Frankly, I dare say, badass just might be too weak a word for him, but that is neither here nor there. What is important, and what I ask you now, is how are you going to fully engage in your life? What risks are you going to take in order to improve your world? Regardless of whether or not you impact millions, you will love the life you engage in, and you will miss out if you choose not to.
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