Archive for September, 2011|Monthly archive page

“As long as I can compete, I won’t quit…”

In Uncategorized on September 20, 2011 at 9:57 am

Those were Cal Ripken, Jr.’s words when describing his quest for 3,000 hits. As a child, I admired Cal, Jr. because he made the game look effortless. But I knew then and I know now, the details were in the preparation. He had a work ethic second to none. Just as he approached the game with such dedication and enthusiasm, he approaches life with that same fervor, but now in the form of the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation. Founded in 2001 by Cal, Jr. and his brother Bill, along with other Ripken family members, the Foundation embodies the spirit of Cal, Sr. who was a player and manager for the Baltimore Orioles.

In over three decades with the Oriole organization, Cal, Sr. exhibited great commitment and loyalty, and it was not too far a stretch to know and see that Cal, Jr.’s and Bill’s dedication to sport and life originated with their father. It was not until yesterday that I understood why I admired the Ripken baseball family so. It was not because of athletics alone, it was because of the life lessons that transcended baseball, that transcended even Manager and players Ripkens. Growing up in a single parent household, I longed for a father like Cal, Sr. He was not just present and active in his sons’ lives because of sports, instead he used sports as a vehicle to educate, empower, and equip his sons for life. And in turn, they are now paying it forward…

It was on yesterday that I was able to speak to a group of bright-eyed and hopeful middle school students. The Foundation and the Mississippi Department of Education have partnered to teach and empower disadvantaged youths from target communities from across the state to make healthy choices and decisions. And through the Ripken way, baseball and softball themes are used to exhibit loyalty, dedication and hard work.

Through this partnership, many of these students now get to see college up close and personal. Mississippi State officials and the school’s Office of Student Leadership and Community Engagement hosted the Ripken Foundation and the students to show them that opportunities are present–that success is achievable and that there are people here pushing, encouraging, and motivating students to rise above the challenges that life may bring.

So, I had my opportunity to pay it forward…

I once was where many of those students are and I was thankful to share a little insight. I admired the Ripkens for being the first family of baseball, but today my admiration for the Ripken family extends far beyond the field of dreams. The lessons of Cal, Sr. continues each and everyday, as the Foundation is committed to coaching and teaching to youths that the American Dream exists, and is attainable for kids like me.