Wellness Wednesday: Baseball & Civility

I’ve often mentioned that civility is an aspect of wellness.  Indeed, six months ago, shortly after the baseball season began, I posted Be Kind to a Lawyer Today.  Now, with the World Series upon us, I’d like to bookend the season with an example of civility among lawyers.

The story has been reported by several outlets, including the ABA Journal, Above The Law, and the Washington Post.

Jay Friedman is an attorney who lives in the D.C. area.  He represents organic food growers who are in litigation with the federal government.  Friedman had an October 18 deadline to file a motion for summary judgment.

Friedman and his 9-year old son are fans of the Washington Nationals.  On October 15, the Nationals hosted the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series. Friedman and his son wanted to watch the game.  Had the Nationals lost, the Friedmans had tickets to the game that was scheduled for the next day.  And, had the Nationals lost that one, another game was scheduled for the night of October 17.  Their nights were looking busy.

Left to choose between working on the motion and what might be a once-in-a-lifetime experience with his son, Friedman asked the court to extend the deadline from October 18 to October 21.  The DOJ attorneys consented to the request and the court granted it.

BuzzFeed’s Zoe Tillman tweeted the motion:

Here’s what Friedman told the Washington Post about his counterpart at DOJ:

“Lawyers on TV fight over everything and act like it’s World War III, but my counterpart at the Department of Justice is a perfectly nice and respectful person,” Friedman said. “I told her [about the motion] and she’s fine with it. She sent me a note yesterday afternoon and she said, ‘Everybody here loves it. We’re showing it around the office.’ “

The Post went on to report that:

“With [opposing counsel’s] permission, Friedman included at the end of his motion, ‘With the consent of the parents and baseball fans at the Department of Justice, this request is unopposed.’”

The game? The Nationals won, clinching their first-ever trip to the World Series, and obviating the need for more games later that week.  Still, I love this story.

As I’ve blogged, my earliest sports memory is of my dad waking me up to watch the final out of the 1975 American League Championship Series.  I will never forget it.

Attorney Friedman’s 9-year old son strikes me as serious a Nationals fan as I was an 8-year old Red Sox fan.  I can attest that it’s likely that neither Friedman nor the DOJ attorneys who consented to his request will ever fully realize the impact of the decision not to work last Tuesday night.

Civility and wellness.  Small things can make a gigantic difference.

Oh, Attorney Friedman, DOJ attorneys, and Nats fans everywhere: great story, I love your stadium, and I’m rooting for the Nats.  Alas, as I cheered last night’s heroics from Soto & Scherzer, I couldn’t help but wish that I was cheering pour Les Expos.

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