Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Rant #713: Two Anniversaries

Today, April 10, marks the date of two famous anniversaries in 20th century history.

Each has left an indelible mark on our civilization, but in very different ways.

On this date in 1912, the soon-to-be-ill-fated RMS Titanic set sail from Southampton, England, on its maiden voyage.

It stopped first at Cherbourg, France, and then at Queenstown, Ireland, to pick up passengers before heading out on its voyage on the open sea.

Of course, you know what happened after that.

Filled to the gills with very wealthy passengers, like John Jacob Astor, but mainly with poor people seeking safe passage, the ship hit an iceberg, thousands died, and it was the first modern cruise ship disaster.

Heck, we can even see it play out in 3D in the "Titanic" film in our local theater.

Also on this date, in 1947, the Brooklyn Dodgers purchased the contract of Jackie Robinson from its minor league affiliate, the Montreal Royals.

When Robinson played his first game, he broke the color barrier in baseball.

Now, all players, regardless of color, could play major league baseball. And Robinson showed just how talented he was, helping to change the game forever.

Two incredible instances happening on the very same day, 35 years removed from one another.

To this day, I think the Titanic disaster has been somewhat overplayed by the media.

Yes, it truly was a horrible thing to have happened.

It just proved that no matter how rich you are, your money isn't good when such a disaster strikes.

Everyone is, literally, in the same boat when this happens, no matter if you are a millionaire, billionaire, or just normal folk.

And James Cameron's "Titanic" movie, no matter how good it was, kind of amplified the fact that we have had a fascination with this disaster for years, now reaching 100 years. And we just can't let go.

Heck, there is an even a cruise ship which headed out to sea the other day, which will be following the same exact route the Titanic took when disaster struck.

How morbid!

The Jackie Robinson story hasn't been overplayed at all. I don't think anyone from the succeeding generations, mine included, can realize the power of this move that the Dodgers made, and its reverberations throughout so many facets of our lives, way beyond just sports.

Sports is the field where two sets of teams or players meet, and major league baseball supposedly showcases the best baseball players in the world.

But without black players, baseball only showcased the best white players, so you weren't getting the best of the best, until Jackie Robinson came into the game.

Much more importantly, this move was really the first step toward acceptance of blacks as equals in our country. I really believe that Jackie Robinson had as much to do with the civil rights movement as Martin Luther King did, but Robinson did it on the baseball diamond.

So, two interesting anniversaries on the same day ... one having a far-reaching impact on our lives, the other one, merely a point of fascination that will never go away.

April 10 is a very interesting date in history, isn't it?

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