Major League Baseball All-Star shortstop Derek Jeter has accumulated many accolades in his illustrious 14-year career with the New York Yankees (including Rookie of the Year in ‘96 and World Series MVP in ’00), and was bestowed an honor of a different kind, named Most Caring Athlete of 2010 by USA Weekend.
Call me biased. Yes, I root, root, root for the Bronx Bombers, so hearing about this evoked a warm and fuzzy feeling inside. But more importantly, it’s great that a distinction like this exists for athletes, a fraternity (or sorority) often known for their “unsportsmanlike” (“unsportswomanlike”?) behavior on and off the field/court/ice.
Kids Wish Network often receives requests from Wish Kids who dream of getting up close and personal with their favorite jock. The Wish team has had the pleasure of working with a roster of amazing, big-hearted athletes from: NASCAR (Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson); NBA (Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Boston Celtics); NFL (Pittsburgh Steelers); WWE (John Cena – always a consistent fan favorite!); MLB (Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Atlanta Braves) and many more.
I worked in the sports industry for many years and witnessed how generous these “larger than life” superheroes are. There isn’t a sports team or athlete out there that doesn’t consider community relations a significant priority, often via a Foundation of their own, in addition to partnerships with numerous nonprofits whose philanthropic missions are near and dear to them.
With that, we salute Captain Jeter and ALL the athletes who always make time for our children (and all worthy causes). Thanks for being heroes to our little heroes by creating endless smiles and happy memories that last a lifetime!