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Boys to Men

Jul 19, 2010 — Categories: ,

A baseball game is a place where boys are socialized to become men. And in a world where men’s violence against women is rampant, it is worth considering as a place to work on changing the norm of violence against women. Help the Seattle Mariners win a $200,000 Pepsi Refresh Project grant to support domestic violence work!

It is the middle of the baseball season and, as a baseball fan, I want to reflect on this particular ritual of sport. I became a convert to the Church of Baseball some 30 years ago, and I have grown to appreciate the nuances and intricacies of the game not only as entertainment but also as a source of life lessons. There are the obvious: the goal is to be “safe at home,” every day you start with a clean slate regardless of the successes or failures of the day before, fair play, respect for teammates and opponents, etc. But there is more.

And don’t worry. I have the whole social critique of the absurd economics, the expensive stadiums, the prima donnas, the steroids, etc. But there is social capital here that is worth the investment.

What I know is that a baseball game is a place where people come together almost daily--people who would never ever even speak to each other except in this setting--to share the love of a game and to experience remarkably talented and diverse players. I’ve always said (with a smile) that baseball is one of the most productive activities I have ever seen men as a group engage in.

It is also a place where boys are socialized to become men. And in a world where men’s violence against women is rampant, it is worth considering as a place to work on changing the norm of violence against women.

I happen to live in Seattle and so am a Seattle Mariners’ fan. Over the years I have supported the work of the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence in its partnership with the Seattle Mariners to raise awareness and funds to address domestic violence.

The Mariners and the Coalition have teamed up again. This time they are going for a $200,000 grant from the Pepsi Refresh Project to support a program called “Coaching Boys On and Off the Field.”

Fifteen major league teams are promoting Pepsi projects. The Mariners project is mentoring young male athletes to promote honor and respect. Their project is the only project addressing domestic violence.

You can help the Coalition get this grant. Every day, through August 17, you can do something to help. You can VOTE online each day and vote 10 times. Or you can also vote by texting “Mariners” to 76462.

Branch Rickey was a baseball manager in the early twentieth century. He is the man who brought Jackie Robinson up to the major leagues and broke the color barrier forever. He was a devout Methodist and believed that baseball had the potential to train men not only as athletes but also as citizens, husbands and fathers.

“We must do our level best to get men in the frame of mind to elect to impose their own restrictions. Discipline should come from within. It’s more effective. . . You choose to do it. . . it comes by way of a man recognizing finally, and embracing a theory, a practice, a principle, a fundamental attitude toward life and life itself.”

This was Rickey’s philosophy. You can help coaches learn how to mentor boys to become men who honor and respect each other and the women in their lives.

PLEASE VOTE EVERY DAY. Take 3 minutes each day and support the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence to win this grant and carry out this important work.

Rev. Dr. Marie M. Fortune
FaithTrust Institute
www.faithtrustinstitute.org

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