Thursday, April 22, 2010

Talk Is Cheap

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?


  1. CJ, you are on the money. True change comes through relationship that activates teaching and knowledge. In the case of the young men LEAD is trying to develop with the goal of attending college, they need hands-on relationships and mentoring to bring about true and lasting change. This takes human capital and financial resources. My hope is that the Atlanta corporate community sees the opportunity to invest in these young men within their boundaries and reap the return on their investment by seeing these young men go to college and return to give back what they have received.

  2. Great stuff CJ. We live in a world in which investment is resisted or distrusted, but there are no shortcuts and the greatest rewards come to those who commit themselves and perservere toward their goals. This is the essence of baseball, and like the sport itself, it doesn't come easy: it requires nurturing, instruction, support - a system that guides our youth toward enduring benefits with patience and persistence.

  3. I agree CJ! This is a very common fault in our communities across this nation. In that, we plant seeds into fertile grounds by giving sound ideals and do not follow up with the imementation of tools and resources. CJ, all of your blogs tie into a common dilemma and no time is greater for the switches to be turned ON!

    A. Blanton Wright

  4. I am not from the inner city so maybe my 'talk is cheap'...but what I have found in my life is that all kids need hope measured in reality...and if baseball is a vehicle to help provide confidence and hope, then even if they don't become the next star, they are laying the foundation to be meaningful contributors to society. You are making such a difference, C.J. These kids will never forget you...they know you genuinely care about their lives.

  5. You're a different kind of guy, CJ. Most baseball guys, you see, we the parents invest in them. But with you, you invest in the community and in the souls of the players. Your way will bear more fruit, my dear friend. Will I join you? Yes, a thousand times yes. And I will pray and lift you all up to a loving and just God who is above all barriers. God bless you, Kelli, and everyone involved with LEAD.