Why I Play
Why do I play? I play so that others can be free to play.
If you’ve been reading my blog from the beginning, you’re familiar with my story. You’ve read about my growing awareness. You’ve learned about how powerful we are when we work together. And you know why I joined Not For Sale’s Free2Play campaign.
Kids are being sold into situations where they have no dreams. Someone’s telling them, “Don’t bother to dream, because you’re going to do what I tell you to do. It’s going to wreck your life. But I don’t care. You are not a human being to me. You are a business to me. You’re a toy to me. You’re an object to my desire. You’re an object to my greed.”
Athletes are great mentors for the issue of human trafficking. We’ve been able to accomplish our dreams, but that started with being allowed to dream in the first place. Slavery kills the ability to dream. It’s so important for former child slaves to be free to play. It’s through play that they can start dreaming again. Free2Play’s goal is to make that happen.
Last year, CNN contacted Dave Batstone at Not For Sale to discuss human trafficking. He told them about Free2Play, and our plan to get more athletes involved in the fight against human trafficking. CNN wanted to know who was involved, and Dave said, “We have Jeremy from the Giants.” And they said, “Oh, a World Series champion is helping with the fight against human trafficking!” And he said, “Yes, and we have Matt Holliday, and Jeremy’s trying to get some other guys.” And so CNN came to spring training and talked to me about why I’m a Free2Play athlete.
That went up at CNN International. It went global! People around the world could see that ball players were involved in fighting human trafficking. This was such a honor for me. When you’re able to reach millions of people with one interview, then you’re making a big dent. It’s not the local news!
We also discussed the groundwork for a Free2Play team. The idea we had was to create a kind of fantasy team. We would get players to join Free2Play. Each player would make his pledge. For example, this season I’ve pledged $250.00 per strikeout and $250.00 per save or hold, and Matt Holliday has pledged $500.00 per homer. Check out the Free2Play app on Facebook, because there are a lot of players involved now.
And with the app, the fans can join us. They can pick the players they like and make matching pledges. For example, fans can pick me and Matt, and pledge 50 cents for a strikeout and a dollar for a homer.
The app lets the fans create and track their Not For Sale teams: what the team did, how much the players donated, how much the fans matched. It’s a fun way to raise funds to help with the fight against human trafficking. And even though we have a lot of players involved, fans can draft any player they want to their Not For Sale team, and pledge based on any accomplishments they choose. (I wrote about this last time.)
Sometimes the mentality is, “Well you’re a baseball player. You’ve got the money. You’re on TV. You’re doing things most people can’t do. I know there’s a problem, but I’ll let you take care of it.” We don’t want people to think that way. Nothing can ever get done that way.
Now that we have this app, we can say, “No, why don’t you help us.” Now we can say, “No, we need your help. We can’t do this without you. Please help us in this fight.” And then, when fans check the stats and say, “Jeremy just struck out a guy,” they’ll know that it means that together we gave $250.00 plus all our other pledges to a campaign that’s going to help free children from slavery. Fans can connect and help fight with us.
When fans, and especially kids, see that there are ball players out there fighting for other people’s freedom, they’ll realize that we don’t play baseball just to make all this money and take care of our families. Obviously that is part of why we play, but they’ll see we have another reason too. We have a purpose behind every goal that we set for ourselves. Why do I play? I play so that others can be free to play.
Next time I’m going to tell you a bit about how we started involving players in Free2Play. See you Saturday.