As you may or may not know, I’m a huge baseball fan. There’s a player named RA Dickey. He came up with the Seattle Mariners (my favorite team), and is now playing for the New York Mets. Unlike some major league players, who were drafted out of high school or college, given big signing bonuses, and touted as “the next big star,” RA Dickey was never a shoe-in to make it big. He worked hard to get to where he is today.
See, Dickey is a pitcher. When he first came up, he pitched the way most pitchers do, using traditional pitches like a fastball, curveball, slider, and change up. But after struggling for years, he reinvented himself, and became a knuckleball pitcher. Knuckleballers are rare, especially these days, since it takes great skill to succeed as one. Professional baseball is a cut-throat process. There’s always someone trying to take your spot. It’s so extremely competitive that scores of players are routinely fighting for jobs. Countless players are cut every year, and are forced to retire. So for Dickey to try something as risky as becoming a knuckleballer took a lot of courage. It was an arduous task he undertook, but his hardwork paid off, and now he has a multi-year contract with the Mets.
During the off season most players go on vacation, or spend time at home with their families. But this off season Dickey decided to do some charity work. He scaled Mount Kilimanjaro in order to raise money and awareness for a charity in India that fights human trafficking. The Mets told Dickey that if he got hurt during the climb, his contract would be voided, and he would lose millions of dollars. But he resolved to carry it out, feeling the cause was worth it.
The charity he did this for is called the Bombay Teen Challenge, aimed at stopping sex slavery in Bombay (Mumbai.)
“I have daughters 9 and 8 years old, so it’s a cause that really rings true to me,” said Dickey.
“Any time I can leverage the platform of being a major league baseball player…You just don’t hear professional athletes doing things like this in the off season. It got a lot of traction, and because of that we were really able to raise a lot of awareness for the Bombay Teen Challenge.”
I’m glad to see him say these things. I think it’s really important for celebrities to use their positions of influence as a way of raising awareness for important causes.
What the video doesn’t mention is how difficult it was for Dickey to make it as a major league player. He worked so hard to succeed, and he risked it all for a cause he believed was too important to ignore.