https://stevenfeinberg.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/post-generic.jpg 230 240 Steven Feinberg /wp-content/uploads/2015/02/feinberg-final-logo.png Steven Feinberg2014-06-09 03:22:432016-03-18 03:16:23# 42, Jackie Robinson - The Advantage-Maker
“Can you do it? Can you do it?”
asked Branch Rickey during his hiring interview of Jackie Robinson testing his heart, desire and inner fortitude.
The recent release of the movie 42, the story of Brooklyn Dodger Jackie Robinson’s heroic
entrance into a racist all white professional baseball game in 1947 – America’s game, was a stark reminder of
what it’s like when the odds are truly stacked against you – and you prevail.
We’ve known the general outline of the story, Number 42, Jackie Robinson overcame
hatred, ignorance and blatant racism to become a star ball player for the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Jackie became a hero to millions of black children and the hope of their parents. He not
only won the game, he changed the game – a real Advantage-Maker.
But what most of us failed to realize is the scope and depth of insult to his dignity that he endured for the sake
of getting it right, not just for himself, but for the nation. While he was a good and decent man he did not
start out to change a nation, he was a gifted baseball player – his future was the Hall of Fame.
Branch Rickey, the owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers (let it be known right here, that i’m an ardent Yankee fan who
rooted against the Dodgers often) was of equal import to transforming the game and America.
A real Advantage-Maker, he shared the pain, anguish and the delight by his unequalled efforts to integrate the sport of baseball.
One scene between Branch Rickey and Jackie typified the acid test waiting to be dealt with:
Rickey said the opposition and your own teammates will insult you, taunt you, throw insults and spike you. And try to break you, to call you names, and if you fight back they will say you started it, and blame you for anything that they do that’s wrong. What will you do?
Jackie says, “‘Mr. Rickey, Do you want a ballplayer who’s afraid to fight back?”
Branch testing Jackie’s inner fortitude, ‘I want a ballplayer with guts enough not to fight back!’
Jackie and Branch shifted the odds to their favor in the face of enormous obstacles. They changed the game, They didn’t accept the givens, instead they challenged them. Rickey was righting a wrong and Jackie was influencing the world of hatred into a new world of appreciation for his baseball talents and dignity as a man. His refusal to lower himself to the level of the racist fools drew the adulation of millions of sympathetic good people – who themselves wanted to punch the lights out of the indignant racists.
Everything about Jackie Robinson (and Mrs. Rachel Robinson who stood tall with quiet elegance supporting her husband as a man and in the cause of human rights) and Branch Rickey speaks volumes to the code of the Advantage-Makers. Together they shifted the odds. They demonstrated what it means to literally be in a Different League. Ordinary men, under extraordinary circumstances, performing exceptional feats of courage and skill.
Can you do it? Can you do it?
when its your turn to face the high stakes challenges that matter to you
I know for myself, the Pride of the Yankees would be to root for these dignified men of the Brooklyn Dodgers.