The Reds and the Maroon Car

Asher Weinstein

My Essay

As I prepare to hit submit on this application, I recall an incident that occurred nearly six years ago to the day. Even since I learned how to read the sports page when I was three years old, I’ve been a Reds fan, and on this day six years ago, I was finally about to attend Reds Opening Day for the first time. Clad head to toe in Reds apparel and, where no Reds apparel could be worn, body paint. As my family piled into the car, the electric energy was palpable and. Until it wasn’t. Driving on I-71, less than three miles from the ballpark exit, I heard a “Woah!” arise from the front seat, drawing my head up from the Sports Illustrated in my lap. A maroon car, maybe two cars in front of us, was weaving across all four lanes of traffic. We hung back, hoping that the driver was simply lost and would stop driving so erratically. Alas, the swerving only grew wilder. For maybe a mile, we hung back, desperate to get to the next exit. Suddenly, the driver of the maroon car took a sharp left turn, and this time, he was unable to swing back to the right side of the freeway. He slammed into the median, sending sparks flying into the air. Assuming this would put an end to the incident, my mom hit the gas, speeding to the next exit to avoid this erratic and dangerous driver. To our horror, as we sat at the exit’s light, waiting to turn left onto the side streets, the maroon car swerved one last time across all four lanes and entered the exit ramp. He never caught up to us, as the light turned green seconds before he reached it. We subsequently got lost and made it to the game for the second inning. The next morning, as my mom skimmed the local news online, she found a report about the driver, who had been arrested previously for drunk driving, thus increasing his maximum sentence to five years. I never found out what happened to him, but no matter what sentence was handed down, he ruined his life. All of that was trivial in comparison to what can happen. Ultimately, the driver of the maroon car got lucky, but thousands like him have not. For me, however, the effect was immense, causing me to realize the shocking power of such events. In my life, I see myself as an activist, dedicating myself to pursuing worthy causes. On this front, I’ve worked to ensure my friends stay off the streets, even going out of my way on fun Saturday nights to act as a designated driver for inebriated friends. I’m quite certain that I will do the same in the future, and as I pursue a career in politics, I intend to work to increase funding for programs for alcoholics, who would have a high tendency to drink and drive.

About Me

I’ve always considered myself to be a member of my community, first and foremost. Over the years, this has manifested in a variety of ways, from guiding me to work as a mentor for students at my former elementary school to pushing me to be president of my youth group. Recently, in reaction to threats to school safety, I’ve taken my community advocacy to an organizing level. Inspired by the courageous reaction of the Parkland teens, I came to believe that my individual activism could make a real difference. Convinced that merely walkout out of school would not be enough, five friends and I recruited 250 high schoolers from 31 different schools living in 16 different Senate Districts and 22 different House Districts to join us at the Ohio State House to lobby our state senators and representatives for common sense gun laws. The wild success of our initial event encouraged us to plan further events, but for me personally, it deeply reaffirmed my belief in the power of individual voices at any level.