Today is May 17, which I’m reminded is the anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision. I was reminded of that by Erwin Chemerinsky, the titan of constitutional law, who happened to be the commencement speaker at my law school graduation ceremonies yesterday (he started his teaching career at DePaul). Mr. Chemerinsky also told the story of how he heard in the late weeks of October 1982 how he had cancer, then had successful surgery, then found out his wife was pregnant with their first child, just about on the day I was born.
So what was I thinking of as I stepped on stage to receive my “diploma” yesterday (I actually graduated last year and already have my diploma and Illinois license)? I was thinking how happy I was that at that exact moment the Cincinnati Reds had just won and moved back into first place in the NL Central.
Now, I realize that that may seem shallow, but there’s really more depth here than you might immediately appreciate. The last time the Reds were in first place this late in the season was July 2006. At that point in my life, I hadn’t entered law school, I loved my job, I wasn’t married or even engaged yet, I hadn’t even taken the Foreign Service exam, and my dad was still alive.
I’ve always had plans and visions of what my life would hold for me in the future, but I would have never guessed that it’d look like this. My family looks so different, both for the worse and the better. I’m a full-time French student as I prepare to move – with my wife – to Republic of Congo. My friends are getting married. A black man is President, narrowly edging out a woman. I’m a lawyer; I’m a diplomat; I’m a son; I’m a brother; I’m a husband.
There’s not much of a point to this post other than to recall where things were and to perhaps give a landmark to look back once things go to where they’ll be. As Professor Chemerinsky said yesterday, perhaps my own experiences will be useful for you in examining your own life. But always remember….
…the Reds are in first place, baby!