The national debate Monday was a joke. Trump did his thing, pulling his nonsensical talking points from some randomly generated word cloud of political incorrectness and incredulity. Hillary pulled nine muscles in her face from smirking so hard, knowing that sort of thing resonates with all of us millennial Jim-from-“The Office” fans (even if Mark-Paul Gosselaar did it first in “Saved by the Bell”). Both talked about problems. Neither discussed solutions. One might say that in a bowl of 300 million skittles, we probably could’ve picked two that tasted a little better.
Nothing happened Monday that filled me with comfort or hope for the future of our nation and its citizens. Well, at least nothing on NBC.
In search of something to draw my increasingly negative thoughts away from the Mad Maxian hellscape we’ll almost certainly be living in by 2020, I managed to tear myself away from these two unnaturally detestable caricatures and instead found myself in the middle of something better. Something beautiful, even.
A tragic weekend in sports that had already seen moving tributes to the grandaddy of pro golf Arnold Palmer and the tragic passing of 24-year-old MLB pitcher Jose Fernandez came to a poignant climax Monday, as an emotional Marlins squad sported their lost teammate’s name and number on every jersey. While loathsome politicians dueled to a 0-0 draw on virtually every news channel, second baseman Dee Gordon stood proudly in front of some 36,000 Marlins fans wearing his best buddy’s batting helmet, taking his first pitch from the right side of the plate — where Jose would’ve hit from.
Two pitches later, Gordon cracked a solo shot to the upper-deck beyond the right field fence. It was his first homerun of the season.
Gordon slowed as he rounded the bases, taking extra care as he crossed home plate to look skyward with an upward glance full of meaning beyond that of a single baseball game. Teammates hugged him as he reentered the dugout — not quick, callous athlete bro-hugs either. Gordon’s teammates held him. They held him and they cried and just let that moment linger for a minute. There was a brotherhood, an honesty, a unity, an understanding that their lost friend was perhaps not so distant.
It was one of those goosebump-filled moments you point to when having that talk with someone who doesn’t see what sports have to offer. How apropos that on a night when future leaders of the country were promoting their own agendas by detailing the nation’s troubles, it was our own national pastime that provided a stark reminder of the things we still value.
No one person can provide this country with the healing it needs, it’ll take a concentrated effort from individuals everywhere to do that. But Dee Gordon and the Marlins succeeded where our politics failed, providing us with a moment of both reflection and quiet gratitude. Despite how things may appear this time of year, debate is not our national pastime — that’s baseball’s title, and this week baseball did more to restore faith in the direction we’re all headed than anything else ever could have.
— Logan Jones is a senior studying creative writing. He’s currently dating the prettiest girl in Utah.