I am about to make a fairly un-American statement about our family. We do not care about baseball. I know, I know. We just don’t.
I didn’t grow up around it and Todd hails from the land where Broncos are #1 and the Nuggets are #2 and the Rockies are something you follow while you wait for preseason Bronco games. So when the movie about Jackie Robinson called 42 came out in theatres and everyone was raving, we were kind of like…meh, a baseball movie? We’ll rent it.
Well we watched it last week. Oh. My. Word! Once again, a film expressed everything I believe about the power of story. A good story, whether told face to face, read on a page or watched on a screen, transcends the vehicle used to deliver. Story makes you interested in subjects you wouldn’t ordinarily pay attention to.
This is absolutely the reason I would rather watch the behind the scenes stories of Olympic athletes than the competition itself. This is why I spent time reading about Louie Zamperini’s life surviving POW camps, watching the gut wrenching Schindler’s List and turning pages engrossed in the land called Middle Earth. The characters within a good story always eclipse the subject that deliver them.
42 was just like that. For me, Jackie’s story was so incredible I completely forgot I didn’t care about baseball. This was all about courage in the face of incredible injustice. A man whose dignified strength at a pivotal time in our country’s became a tipping point for change. The reason this movie was so fabulous is not that Robinson played a good game of ball, although he sure could do that. The story is good because of WHO he was.
There is a scene in the movie when Mr. Rickey tells PeeWee Reese the word sympathy came from Greek origins meaning “to suffer with”. The story of Jackie Robinson causes us all to suffer with him as he struggles against everything inside and chooses to turn the other cheek, over and over again.
There are so many incredible quotes in this film. One of my favorites is this: Jackie: You want a player that doesn’t have the guts to fight back. Mr. Rickey: I want a player whose got the guts NOT to fight back.
I’m still not a baseball fan, but you better believe I’ve become a Jackie Robinson fan. I may even watch a little Dodgers this summer….maybe.
Just for Fun:
- I love movies based on true stories that give “the rest of the story” at the end. I need that closure.
- As a fan of Friday Night Lights, I enjoyed watching Lucas Black and Derek Phillips again. I still think Lucas Black was brilliant in Sling Blade.
- Nicole Beharie, who played Rachel Robinson, was absolutely stunning in every scene of this movie. Beautiful.
- The scene where Jackie retreats to the tunnel after the Phillies manager almost verbally destroys him…Such powerful acting. Made more powerful because of its reality. I bawled.