Feb 9, 2009

Celebrating Jackie Robinson

This past Friday I spent a few hours at Fenway Park celebrating Jackie Robinson's achievements in baseball. The event was pleasant and informative. Aimed at students in local after-school programs, the tribute was educational and even a bit interactive. Greg Kenney, a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame Education and Advisory Board, Kenney is also a professional actor. He uses his skills to re-enact portions of Robinson's life and trials.

He also had a bit part in the 1994 movie, Only You.

I really enjoyed the event, Kenney was excellent and the other people involved on the panel had interesting things to say about Robinson and his role in their success. Tommy Harper, a former Red Sox Outfielder and current leader in stolen bases for the Red Sox, spoke to the fact that he faced similar struggles to what Robinson faced. Manny Delcarmen talked about how Robinson's achievements opened doors for all players of diverse ethnic background.

I have one concern: Did the children at the event learn anything new? Were they able to walk away from the event with gained knowledge of Jackie Robinson, and, as Larry Lucchino said, "share what they learned with friends."

I think they did. I spoke with some of the students after the program ended and in between running around with baseballs, looking for autographs, they spoke well of the tribute. Kervina Alexander, a 13-year-old from Roxbury, said she realized that if she followed her dreams she could be successful like Jackie Robinson.

I guess that's really all you can ask for.

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