What's up Yardbarkers? I'm sorry for going ghost on y'all since my second post, but I've been doing a little traveling. I have probably been on 6 flights in the last couple of weeks. Some of the highlights were going to Cancun for some business and pleasure, then going to San Antonio to work out with Priest Holmes, and throwing out the first pitch at the season opener for the Augusta GreenJackets.
At first I wasn't too thrilled about the 2 hour drive from Atlanta to Augusta, but at the end of my day when we had that 2 hour drive back to Atlanta, I was happy I went. To be completely honest Yardbarkers, even though I have great respect for those who can play America's pastime at a high level, baseball is not one of my favorite sports. It's a little more fun to play than it is to watch, but it's just not my cup of tea. Maybe that stems from a traumatic experience of being hit in the head with a baseball in little league (but that's another story). Needless to say, I was excited when the falcons added a hospital visit and a trip to the Augusta Boys and Girls Club to my itinerary as well.
The two-hour ride with members of Falcons personnel wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. At first I wasn't sure how professional I had to be. I didn't know if I was allowed to kick my shoes off and take a nap or if I had to sit up, be ridged and respectful and make small talk. The uneasiness stemmed from the fact that though I have spoken to them several times, I have never been confined in a limo with them for 2 hours. I am glad to report that we all had a great time and were laughing, joking and strategizing for future ventures. We even avoided the dreaded awkward silence that we all hate.
The real fun started on our first stop at the Children's hospital. My father is a doctor, but I was never sure that I wanted to take over the family business. I don't like seeing people (especially children) in pain or suffering. As I've grown older and wiser I've realized that whether I look at it or choose to look away, there will ALWAYS be adults and children suffering, so I can either choose to do what I can to curb it or to do nothing. This is why I've been trying to make more of a concerted effort to stop by children's hospitals. As the hospital staff went into every room and made sure it was ok for me to come in, I could hear some of the kids squeal with excitement. I would walk in with my falcon's jersey and a teddy bear and do whatever I could think of to let each child know how precious he or she is. Every room was a different experience, but the one that really touched me was when I walked into the hospital room of a little boy named Jack. Jack was one of the kids who squealed when the hospital worker told him I was coming in. When I walked in I barely had time to introduce myself before he ran up and hugged my leg. Jack's face was beaming the whole time I was in the room and he kept on looking over to his dad saying, "he's a real football player." You would think I was giving this kid a blank check to Toys-R-Us as excited as he was. But all I was giving was my time, attention, and a little brown falcons teddy bear. I think that was more than enough for Jack and his dad. What really got me was when I was leaving the room Jack's father stopped me and seemed to be holding back tears as he told me that this was the happiest day of Jack's life.
The words of Jack's father really meant a lot to me because it reminded me how even though we as athletes and as people do and say things that we think are small; they can mean the whole world to someone else.
PS- I don't want to write an essay on here but I have so much I want to share with you guys.
There's still my visit to the Boys and Girls club, my adventures in throwing out the first pitch and especially my being Laura Turner Seydel's guest at a dinner commemorating the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. King. I can guarantee that you guys are going to be blown away when I let you know about how I plan to align the Ovie Mughelli Foundation with Laura Turner Seydel and her Captain Planet Foundation to promote environmentalism in our youth. Sorry for the movie trailer preview, but I just want to let you Yardbarkers know that the best is yet to come.