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42: Benjamin Christensen

Sunday, April 15, 2012 9:48 AM

The number 42 is an interesting number to me. As a baseball fan, it has clearly become synonymous to the man who broke the color barrier for the Brooklyn Dodgers back in 1947. But in life, it is something more. A number of years ago, I read through Douglas Adams’s novel Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and in it is a particular passage about the “ultimate question about the universe, life and everything," at which the answer is 42. There isn’t much of an explanation as to what that means exactly, but to someone like me, a baseball fan, I draw my conclusion based on my experiences.

42, to me, is the symbol within the baseball community that signifies equality. In life, it signifies change. I was lucky enough to be raised to look past color, gender and or differences in other people and know that I am no better or worse than anybody. I will never know, nor understand, the daily struggles that Jackie Robinson faced, but I can continue to learn from the manner in which he dealt with it. Robinson’s impact during and after his playing career changed the way we look at one another. Whether it was when he playing his heart out on the ball field, or marching down the streets alongside Martin Luther King, Jr., Robinson’s message was always simple and to the point, “I'm not concerned with your liking or disliking me... All I ask is that you respect me as a human being.”

Robinson’s priorities went beyond baseball. Like the men and women who he marched with in life, his priority lied on the unification of everyone. Looking back on Adams’ point of what 42 means, I think it’s safe to say it’s true. 42 is the number that bonds us all as human beings. It’s life, love, happiness and an outlook on a brighter tomorrow.

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