A Level Playing Field / Jackie Robinson: The Legend and The Legacy

 
Fans cheer their team as players of Boca Juniors and River Plate enter the field before an Argentine soccer league match in Buenos Aires (AP Photo/ Natacha Pisarenko)

Our first feature takes us back to 1919, long before the first World Cup. A group of teenage boys in Vancouver's Chinatown did something remarkable. They formed a soccer team. Nowadays, that doesn't sound like much, but considering it was a time when Chinese Canadians were treated like second-class citizens, it took real courage and conviction for these young athletes to kick that project off.

It was the first Chinese soccer team to be formed outside mainland China. The team even went on to win the Championship in the premier league in British Columbia. And they had an impact off the soccer field that they never could have imagined.

Kathryn Gretsinger brings us their little-known story in the documentary "A Level Playing Field"

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Chicago White Sox's Juan Pierre wears number 42 to celebrate Major League Baseball's Jackie Robinson Day during AL baseball action against the Toronto Blue Jays. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese
Jackie Robinson was accomplished in many fields. He was a teenaged tennis champ. He was the first person to letter in four sports at UCLA: baseball, basketball, football and track. And he was a war vet.

But on April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson did something for which he will always be remembered: he took the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers for the very first time. And although he wasn't the first black man to play professional baseball in the United States, he was the first to play in the Major Leagues since segregation had been imposed on the sport eighty years earlier. Thus, Jackie Robinson is the man credited with breaking baseball's colour barrier. And that, in turn, paved the way for blacks to play in other professional sports.

In 1987, on the fortieth anniversary of Jackie Robinson's historic feat, "The Inside Track" devoted an entire episode to the life of number 42.

Listen to the Gabriel Award-winning "Jackie Robinson: The Legend and The Legacy."

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