Today is Tax Day. Or didn’t you notice?
The day we have to pay the proverbial piper. It is printed or highlighted in red on most of our calendars, as a day we dread.
Did you know that 24% of Americans would get an “IRS” tattoo to avoid paying their taxes again; 36% would move to a different country; 15% would take a vow of celibacy; and 11% (presumably those who didn’t take the vow of celibacy) would name their child “Taxes.”
While it might be fun to call a nephew “Taxes”, none of these will get you or me out of paying taxes on a day that is referred to as “Black Monday” by many people.
But April 15 is Black Monday for an entirely different reason.
April 15, 1947 is the day that Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball. 72 years ago, this courageous man withstood the derision, death threats and despicable words and actions, to change the landscape of sport, and in doing so, change the landscape of the nation.
Because of that, today is Jackie Robinson Day.
Had he lived this long, Jackie would have turned 100 this year. Undoubtedly, the stress he endured in transforming the game caused his life to end prematurely and at the age of 53. But not before he changed perspectives and hearts.
I had the opportunity to meet Jackie’s widow, Rachel, and his daughter, Sharon, a number of years ago, as we discussed the great work of the Jackie Robinson Foundation to teach and instill character into so many youth across America. They are lovely people of passion and conviction, who have turned the foundation into a vehicle of transformation.
Today, the foundation has more than 1,500 alumni that have attended more than 250 colleges and universities on foundation scholarships, with a 98% graduation rate. In keeping with Jackie’s legacy, the foundation is continuing to change lives.
As Jackie, himself, once said, “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.”
Today and tonight, every major league player taking the field will wear the uniform number 42 in honor of Jack Roosevelt Robinson.
Each one of them will think about the man who wore that number for the first time 72 years ago today and endured horrific treatment from fans, media, opponents and even teammates, sacrificing himself so that they could play the game they know today, surrounded by faces of many colors and paving the way so that every one of them could receive that chance.
Tax Day, pfft.
Happy Jackie Robinson Day.