Here I am, going for a run with a bunch of friends that I don’t know.
The Berlin marathon was a glorious experience, from a thoroughly welcoming city. People from all over were made to feel like family. I was racing with strangers and it didn’t matter that they were from all over the world, speaking languages I couldn’t understand, because we were all the same. Yet later the same day an anti immigration party became the third largest in the German government.
The day after the run, after the vote in the German elections, I took myself to the Berlin Wall Memorial. Underneath the concrete of the last remaining part of the wall that divided the city for 28 years, and on the site of what was once Checkpoint Charlie, are a series of storyboards running its entire length showing how Hitler came to power, what happened when the city was divided, and then what happened when the wall came down. In an age where politicians from many countries are being divisive, are shoring up their power with the trite but effective tactic of uniting their people against a common enemy, it was beautiful to have been a part of something to remind us that we are all the same, and that division is not only stupid, it’s unnecessary.
Sport is a wonderful demonstation of variety and yet togetherness, whether it be events such as the Berlin marathon, the Invictus games, or NFL teams kneeling together in common purpose. Thank you Berlin. Your history is heavy. Your people this weekend were glorious, and I hope our paths cross again soon.