Three unbelievable events in one week - two of which I never thought I'd live to see.
First, as I mentioned in my last post, I truly believe the safe landing of US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson was a miracle of science, skill and luck. While it's out of the major media, this is still big news in the New York area as they pull the plane out of the water.
Second, the inauguration of Barack Obama. Yesterday I was driving back from Baltimore and listening to snippets of the We Are One concert on the radio. Every time Obama began to speak I got goosebumps. I'm having a tough time deciding whether I'm more excited about the inauguration of our first black president or about the inauguration of a president I voted for and truly believed in. It's probably both.
Of course, this moment in history is all the more momentous because it coincides so closely with MLK Day. I will admit that I am shirking my civic duty to make this a National Day of Volunteering, but in my defense I haven't really heard about any volunteer opportunities around here. I searched the USA Service website (an offshoot of Obama's campaign site) and found zero activities in my county. The site offers options to filter by activity - food bank, blood drive, clean-up, shelters, health, etc. - and so I'm going to rationalize that giving blood last week covers me in some way. Maybe I'll pick up a spare can of food when I go grocery shopping today to donate.
More than guilt in failing to volunteer and radical amazement (thanks civil rights pioneer A.J. Heschel) at the imminent prospect of a black president, I just feel tremendous pride in my country. For the first time in my adult life, I feel represented by the people at the forefront. My values, my priorities, my aesthetic, my worldview - they are all embodied when President (elect) Obama, Mrs. Obama or his deputies speak.
Though I won't be at the inauguration festivities, many of my friends will (and they'll be freezing their asses off!). I will be celebrating while safely and warmly ensconsed in my cubicle and I will likely shed a tear of joy at what we've built together.
Third and finally, an event I truly could not have imagined I would live to see. The Arizona Cardinals are going to the Super Bowl!!! You have to understand, most people who live in the Phoenix area are not Cards fans because they often come from another city with a vastly superior football team and because those red birds generally suck.
Those days are over! The sports commentators remarked that the record 70,000+ crowd was dressed predominantly in Cardinals red and friends in Phoenix told me people were setting off fireworks in their neighborhoods. Arizona is such a nebulous place - we're not the West and we're not the South; we are a state of migrants and many of us have divided loyalties in politics, sports and other arenas.
But now for a brief, shining two week period, we have a chance to go absolutely crazy at the prospect of winning the Super Bowl. And it's all the more exciting since we could take the Steelers down in the process. I have not bought my Larry Fitzgerald jersey yet, but who knows if next fall I could be cheering for Big Red as much as Big Blue?
Just as Barack Obama has made me proud to be an American, the Cardinals having a shot at a Super Bowl victory makes me a little prouder to be an Arizonan. Not only do I know what I'm doing on January 20 at noon, but now I know where I'll be on Sunday, February 1. GO CARDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!