Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Why Life is Beautiful...

Sorry, friends, for not posting for so long. I've been in an intense RA training session along with my friend Eli, the author of Memory Palace. It's been an interesting and trying few weeks preparing for the incoming students and all the meddling that may or may not follow them to Drury University.

Amid the turmoil of everyday life, I took a night off last night to hang out with my new brother-in-law, Eric. We are both avid Frisbee players and we went to a local university, MSU, in search of an Ultimate Frisbee game to jump into. While we were unlucky in our attempt to find an Ultimate game, we did find Nelly.

Nelly is a black college student from yet another university, Evangel, who is in his late twenties. He came over after watching Eric and I play for a while and asked to join, which we were happy to agree to. After throwing for a while, we learned Nelly's story. He's from Long Island, NY, a Bible major who is active in community theater and loves his local church. He's your average college student from Springfield, MO, but I'm pretty sure he's had a few more obstacles in his path than the average middle-class American who takes up residence here. Regardless, I learned a lot from throwing the disc with Nelly, even if it was only for thirty minutes or so.

Here is what I find amazing about my experience: Fifty years ago, Nelly would never be where he is today. Fifty years ago, there is no way a black man would ask to join in a friendly game of frisbee with a couple of college guys. There would have been a very, very slim chance of Nelly ever getting an education, especially from a private university. It may seem kind of insignificant, but to me, it means a lot.

I may be young. I may be a middle-class white male who knows nothing, but I'm happy when I think about where we come from. Don't get me wrong; I'm not complacent, and I certainly don't think we're finished here. I'm simply saying that the progress made over the past fifty years has got to count for something.

So, yes, let's get upset over inequality. Let us join hands and march for equal rights of all races, classes, genders, ethnicities, religions, etc, but let's do so with an eye on the past and some form of gratefulness for the progress we've already made. It sounds dumb, but without years of fighting and pushing and shoving our way through intolerance, I would not have been able to enjoy thirty minutes of a simple game with a very cool guy. I, for one, am grateful. I can appreciate that.

1 comment:

lindsey said...

Oh Sparky...I love it when you live up to your nickname.