I once saw a young black man hug a Philadelphia cop, and the cop hugged him back. It was almost midnight, in the middle of what could be described as a riot, and the Phillies had just won the world series.
It was the make up of a rain delayed game 5 and John Hollingshaus convinced me to go down to the stadium without tickets. He thought that maybe some of the ticketholders from the day before wouldn’t show up leaving a bunch of empty seats. MLB doesn’t like empty seats on TV so maybe they would let us in. About 5,000 other people had the same idea and we all watched the game on the jumbo tron as we were smashed up against the gate.A fortuitous rush at another gate allowed us to enter for the final pitch. It was bedlam. Wonderful, joyful, bedlam. The stadium eventually emptied out onto the street and everyone kept marching up Broad st. toward City Hall. Everyone was cheering, old men were crying, and strangers hugged each other.While some kid without a shirt was pulling a potted tree out of the sidewalk someone else was launching fireworks that bounced off the skyscraper walls exploding in the urban canyon. Everyone cheered.
And that is when I saw the young black man and the cop hug.It blew my mind.
I am not truly a baseball guy but that sight, that whole experience, taught me something about collective experiences. It taught me something about the power of elective common identity to occasionally cross boundaries otherwise insurmountable.
Sometimes there are snapshots in time, though temporary, where we glimpse a possibility.
Happiest riot ever. Congratulations Cubbies!