Javier Baez, Bubbles and Colin Kaepernick

Baez homer and bubble gumIt’s pretty clear that discovering bubbles is one of the joys of childhood.  When it comes to soap bubbles they will run after each bubble and try to catch or step on them.  At other moments they will simply watch in wonder as bubbles drift into the heavens or giggle as they are sprayed when a bubble bursts.

Bubbles are wondrous things and as a child gets older and discovers bubble gum, new wonders take place as they learn the skills needed to blow the bubbles and try to get ever larger ones without getting their faces covered in the sticky stuff.  There seems to be equal happiness in popping a bubble that someone else is blowing so that the blower gets gum on his face. In short, bubbles whether of the soap or gum variety are simply fun.

A Home Run and a Bubble

When the Chicago Cubs’ Javier Baez hit his second home run of Game Four of the National League Championship Series, the flight of the ball was a thing of beauty, but the sight of him hopping, flipping his bat and blowing a bubble as he watched the ball sail out of the field provided a moment of pure joy. It was a reminder that these grown men had achieved the pinnacle of playing a child’s game, and while serious business for them, their athletic gifts and hard work are designed to provide pleasure in a world that is often very difficult and challenging for most of us.

baez and puig

A Moment at Second Base

The night before, Baez had tagged out at second base the Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig who had tried to stretch a single into a double. Following the tag, Baez wagged a finger at Puig and shook his head with a message that Puig had been unwise in his attempt to get to second. In that moment, both men smiled at each other and seemed to share an understanding that as important and serious as these playoffs are, these men are playing a child’s game and that it should be fun, for them and the fans.


A Counter Productive Choice?

This seems to be something that Colin Kaepernick has missed.  There is no reason to doubt the sincerity of his beliefs about societal injustices or mistreatment of minorities.  It is suggested however that his choice of platform and method in expressing those beliefs simply detracts from advancing his cause. Sport can be bonding among those who enjoy the competition, whether as spectators or participants.

SchwarberThe second base moment shared by Puig and Baez was between an African American and a Latino. Watching them share that moment, their societally defined racial identities were clearly of no consequence.  They were simply two superb athletes giving their all, and while Baez and his white teammate left fielder Kyle Schwarber, whose magnificent throw beat Puig to second base, had won that little battle, Puig’s Dodger team was winning and would win the game.  No one would comment, nor likely thought in that moment that the play involved a Caucasian, a black and a Latino.  It was only three great competitors at work, two of whom shared a very public moment of joy.

Children’s Games Should Bring Joy

Bubble Gum BubbleAll the major professional sports, whether baseball, football, basketball, hockey or soccer are at their essence children’s games played by adults.  For most spectators the games serve to bring back visceral memories for our own childhood competitions and in some way returns us to a time when we took joy in bubbles, bonded with our teammates and often with our opponents.

Returning to those times, even momentarily by appreciating a bubble in the way a child does or for a few hours during a sporting contest, can better equip us to address the problems associated with being adults in a challenging world.


For Further Reading