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One Of Those Crazy Ideas

I play in a sport where we try to get kids to want to be like us.  But I’ve seen some of us.  And I’m not proud of some of us.  I am not proud at all.  Please, kids, do not be like some of us.

Of course there are other athletes that are great role models.  They are the ones you point out, and you turn to your kids and say, “If you want to be like a pro athlete, be like him.”

It’s not always easy to know which is which.  It can be really tough.  Do I want a kid to be like me?  In some ways, yes!  But in other ways, you know, no!  We change.  We learn, we grow, we mature.  I mean, I’ve sure learned!  But I’d rather see kids learn differently than the way I did, because I’ve learned the hard way.  I’ve done things I’m really not proud of.  In Kansas City, I attacked my bench coach, and it was on television.  Can you imagine?  If that’s all anyone knows about me, then I’d say to a kid, “Don’t be like me.  Not like that.”

But it would be really fulfilling to think that kids would want to be like me because I try to love others the way the King of Kings has loved me.  I would love for more pro athletes to embrace the love angle, the humanitarian angle, the justice angle.

Professional athletes have the ability to make a lot of money, just because people want to be entertained.  And this creates an incredible opportunity.  Because we can make a lot of money, we can do a lot of good.  Here’s an idea: what if more ballplayers got involved in humanitarian issues?  You know what that would do?  It would involve the fans!

Fans yell at us all the time.  I’m sure you’ve heard them.  “You know I pay your salary!”  That has the potential to get under your skin, but I say, “You know what?  It’s true.  You do pay my salary.  And I respect that.”

If more ballplayers were involved in doing humanitarian work, maybe the fans wouldn’t get angry.  Maybe they wouldn’t yell about paying our salaries.  Maybe instead they would say, “We love to pay $17.00 to come to the game.  Why? Because we know our money is going further than your bank account.  We know that what you’re doing outside of yourself is pure and loving.  Our $17.00 doesn’t go that far.  But when our $17.00 is joined with everyone else’s $17.00, we can do something really good, something we’re really proud of.”

What if we could promise the fans that when they buy a ticket to a game, their money is going further than players’ salaries, into food or clean water wells or shelters or education or freeing slaves?

I don’t know if this can be achieved, but it’s an exciting concept!

3 thoughts on “One Of Those Crazy Ideas

  1. Thank you for your post and the picture of the great Roberto Clemente Walker. My father and brother were both huge Pittsburgh Pirates fans. I remember being a very small child in Pittsburgh going to a game with them. All I really remember was when things got exciting, people stood up so I couldn’t see a thing. Not very exciting for a little girl. My brother and most our family are now big Giant’s fans after moving west.

    God forgives you for acting up with your bench coach (Psalm 103:12). We all have things we wish we could do over. I mess up often as an Irish American with a bit of a temper. Sometimes the money players make is a big issue for me since I am a social worker concerned for the poor, abused etc. Before my daughter’s birth, I worked 60-80 hours a week in a level 12 group home w/ a master’s degree for just over 32K! When I hear the obscene salaries athletes make, I mentally try to calculate how many big hearted, but relatively poor social workers could be hired with that kind of money. Yet, I look to you and other humanitarian players for some solace. More players need to take your lead to be altruistic. To whom much is given, much is expected. God Bless and Merry Christmas to you and your family. Also, fly safe planes in all your good work for the community!

  2. Considering how large professional athlete’s salaries are, your idea of the athletes giving back with humanitarian works is the only thing that makes the salaries sane. It’s only considered a “crazy idea” because we live in such a narcissistic world where many athletes and other celebrities engage in selfish and destructive behavior. I look to your work to end slavery, build wells, and feed the poor as an antidote to the typical celebrity selfishness. Wilson gave money for an Airforce scholarship. Even Zitto with his many, many millions helps military families. More of this needs to happen.

    I calculated out how many social workers, teachers and nurses could be hired in a year with a five million dollar annual salary: The median Social Work salary in 2011 as per a NASW study is 55K; therefore, 5 million could hire close to 91 social workers. The median teacher’s salary as per the Sacramento Bee is 67K; therefore, 5 million could hire 74 and a half teachers. The median RN Nurse Staff salary is 65,800, therefore, 5 million could hire close to 76 nurses. If I adjust my previous social worker salary up 3% every year for ten years off with my daughter, the new (completely unrealistic for a nonprofit) salary would have been 47,500.00. Five million dollars could hire 105 social workers at that wage who treat abused and neglected SED girls for more hours than most could endure.

    I calculated this not to put a guilt trip on you, but to motivate you to encourage your teammates and other colleagues to give back as much as humanly possible. Social workers and teachers are getting slashed and cut all over the country wtih significant ramifications. Nursing is a safe profession, thank goodness for them. To whom much is given, much is expected: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke%2012:35-48&version=NIV May the Giant’s continue to make headlines for humanitarian works; rather than brushes with the law or court cases. God Bless.

  3. Love your idea, and I think more ball players should talk about the charity work that they do. Each of us has a reputation in our respective communities, and each of us have platforms in which we can share what we do as followers of Christ – but folks like you, who are professional athletes, have a substantially larger platform as you do live your lives publicly.

    Therefore it’s essential for you guys to show your hearts in the why you are involved – the danger, of course, is the Pharasaical trap and to approach it with a “look at me – and all the great things I’m doing.” You’ve got to live in the tension of communicating your good works that flow from who YOU are in Christ and recognize that you won’t become boastful in sharing that as well.

    Good words – I appreciate your honesty, brother!

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