Every year, ballparks and schools invite speakers to come to inner city venues to talk about the great game of baseball. If timing is right, the youth may even get a chance to attend a camp. But what happens after that? After the guest speaker is gone and the camp crew boards their flight at Hartsfield-Jackson, what do the kids have left to grow on? The dilemma is, the “after” part takes a lot of investment – time, money, etc. The meaning of the word investment means to reap a future benefit that’s larger than your initial input OR effort. So on the front end, effective programming (you’ll see that word a lot here) may be costly to implement, but so is funding a child through the judicial system from youth to and through adulthood on the back end.
If I attend a school to speak to 200 young men about why they should play baseball and tell them to hang in there and leave never to return, did I do a good deed? Or did I just plant a seed of hope that has no chance of growing because I didn’t provide resources to nourish it?
Talking has its place but consistent action must follow if we expect change. We keep talking but the numbers of African Americans competing in baseball keeps declining. Being from the south, Dr. King is one of my most respected and revered people of all time. He wrote a lot of speeches, spent a lot of time talking, but boy did he walk his talk. I’m aspiring to be the Dr. King of inner city baseball; will you join me?