A few weeks ago, I was watching the Orioles game, as I do most nights, and found myself inspired by a story the broadcasters briefly mentioned about Adam Jones. The next day, as I prepared to write a blog for all of you, I searched the Internet high and low for more details about the generous gifts Adam had sent his biggest fan, a young baseball player from the country of Uganda. To my amazement, I found nothing, not a single story anywhere. How is this possible? A truly special and inspiring story of how one player can make a difference is out there, and NO ONE knows about it.
The next week, I sat down again with a cold beer and some peanuts to watch the first Ravens pre-season game. During a short break in play, I see Jonathan Ogden appear in the booth holding…. what else….. a few Papa John’s pizzas. After handing Qadry Ismail the pepperoni pizza and smiling, there was a quick (and I mean quick) mention of JO’s Foundation in Baltimore working with young athletes in the inner city. Hold on. What? I am 41, been a Ravens fan my entire life and never even knew that JO had a foundation.
How is it that the news sites are filled with stories of professional athletes struggling with brushes with the law, performance enhancing drugs, and who knows what other hardships, but when their teammates are making extraordinary differences in the lives of so many, ZERO time or effort is spent celebrating these achievements in the form of positive publicity?
As I continued to ponder what I could do to get the message out there for our Maryland athletes, something truly amazing happened that changed my life. I am busy answering emails and taking calls at my desk when my cell phone buzzes alerting me to a new message. In the midst of ten things requiring my attention at work, I didn’t get a moment to check the message until I head to lunch.
Could this be real, or is this a friend playing a joke on me? It is not even close to April Fool’s Day. This could not be happening to little ole’ me, a struggling sports writer who, at this moment, has a relatively small audience of readers. To my shock and delight, Adam Jones’ mother had read the story on BmoreChix and was very thankful the message had gotten out about her son’s extremely generous heart. One Word… Surreal!
At that moment, it became abundantly clear to me what I needed to do. Thank you to Adam’s mom for your support, encouragement and inspiration that will keep me writing stories of kindness and charity to Baltimore fans. Over the next few months, you will have the opportunity to read not only about Adam Jones and Jonathan Ogden, but any and all of the professional athletes and their organizations/charities throughout Maryland who are making a positive impact in our community and throughout the world.
If you know of a story that should be told, I encourage you to contact me at [email protected]. I hope that you will continue reading, enjoying and sharing these stories with others. We can be the fans that put Maryland athletes on the map as the most charitable and generous in the world of professional sports.