There is nothing more American than baseball.

In the time I’ve been alive, I’ve rarely gotten to play this sport myself. There were never close to enough kids to have a game, even to just toss a ball and hit it with a friend, and the closet I ever came was learning how to swing a bat once as a kid at summer camp. But I grew up loving the Phillies, and the 2008 World Series win remains my favorite moment growing up in Philadelphia. Never in my life, either up to that point or since, have I ever seen this city so happy, so thrilled, so united, and so hopeful.

Today, on June 14th, members of the U.S. Congress were warming up for their own “World Series”; a baseball game between the Democrats and the GOP. In Alexenadria, VA, the GOP got up and started warming up the day before their charity game at Nationals Park and a day of sessions and hearings and votes. The quite neighborhood was alive with the sound of bats cracking and grown men running and sliding around in the dirt. A man, just in his 60’s and looking younger, came over and asked what was going on. When he was told it was a bunch of Congressmen prepping for a game he asked, “Are you guys the Democrats or the Republicans?” “The Republicans.” The man walked away, and a few guys got off the field to go to work while the others kept practicing.

No one expected that man to start shooting from the dugout and shoot the Republican House Whip in the hip, a staffer, and two officers. The officers didn’t expect a quiet morning to result in gun fire. None of the neighbors expected the cracking of bats to give way to gunfire.

In my life, nothing has compared to that 2008 World Series win, but there have been moments that are close, and the reaction to this horror is one of them.

After how vicious this election was, and not to mention the actions of the GOP Congress, the Democratic opposition, the current President, and the protesters both in support and in resistance to this administration, nothing seemed able to bridge that divide or unite these two groups. Just yesterday we saw a tense Senate Hearing with the Attorney General with both sides making talking points. Today that doesn’t matter, at least not in the same partisan way.

Today was about crying, about sharing our fears, our sadly common fears, of violence and hatred reaching us in terrible ways. Today was about reaching across the aisle because of these things. Today was about holding each other close. Today was about feeding hungry staffers. Today was about prayer. Today was about hope.

Today we learned about a baseball game that happens every year but few of us hear about, or maybe care about. We heard Congressmen talk about how much they love playing their positions on the field. Guys you never thought would do so much as run were bragging about hitting homers, playing in the outfield, catching fly balls… they talked about how much they loved the game and, by extension, how much they loved their fellow Congressmen. That the partisanship we constantly see is really just a show once you realize who these people are.

Tomorrow, they’ll go to Nationals Park and play their baseball game as planned, sadly with players who are now in recovery. This act, as simple as it is, shows that they will never relent, they will never surrender, and that partisanship isn’t as deep as you think. That, yes, “an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us.” That is the spirit of togetherness, happiness, and hope of this nation that I love, embodied in one of its greatest sports, baseball.

There is nothing more American than baseball.

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