In a sports news week that seemed to be all about Favre (*yawn*) and Clemens (*zzzz*), it was wonderful to hear some news about athletes taking their time off the field to do some good.
Anyone who follows my Twitter feed closely (HAHAHAHAHA! Yeeeah…) may have noticed a few retweets vis à vis HOPE Week, an initiative of the New York Yankees that started a year ago as a way to bring some joy to people who are truly amazing in their own right, for living with a disability or overcoming a tremendous life challenge.
HOPE (Helping Others Persevere and Excel) Week is not necessarily directed at a specific cause, which is what makes it so interesting. You never know what activity you’ll see the Yankees engaged in. For instance, there’s the story of Panama native Jorge Garjales, who became a quadruple amputee as an infant and today is an unstoppable teen living with a foster family in New Jersey, attending middle school, participating in sports and volunteering at his local church. Mariano Rivera showed up at his birthday party this week delivering much more than just cake.
My personal favorite was the story of Jane Lang, a devoted Yankees fan who has attended about 250 games over the years. What makes Jane’s story particularly special is the fact that she makes this trip from Morris Plains, NJ via public transit with her seeing-eye dog – essentially a two-hour trip. Chad Jennings‘ account of Jane’s trek brought a smile to my face, and it was especially moving to learn that she had some pinstriped escorts to keep her company during her trip to East 161st this week.
Those are just two, but I encourage you to check out the others, especially if you’re in a need of a little life perspective. And naturally, I tip my Yankees cap to the Bronx Bombers. It’s tough to be cynical when you see current and former players, coaches and front office staff devoting their time to bringing smiles to some true champions.