Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!
To celebrate MLK, Jr. Day this Monday, 14 Phillies Ballgirls joined announcers Tom McCarthy, Scott Franzke, and Scott Palmer at Kinsey Elementary School in North Philadelphia to build a new library. We worked with over 100 amazing volunteers from IKEA, the Urban League of Philadelphia, and the Bethlehem Baptist Church to build shelves, assemble file drawers, unload books, paint borders, and encourage students to stop crime and start reading.
Although it was cold outside, nothing but warmth radiated from the smiles of every volunteer. Even if some of the jobs seemed trivial (putting curtains on a rod, dusting, sweeping floors, etc.) it was so wonderful to see what a huge difference could be made with four hours of work. By the end of the day an empty classroom had been transformed into a cheerful little library, complete with turquoise curtains, comfy black leather chairs, wooden tables and bookshelves, inspirational posters, and enough books to keep the children busy until they graduate!
I couldn?t help but smile as I saw children picking up the books I loved as a child. Ramona Quimby, Charlotte?s Web, Green Eggs and Ham, Tikki Tikki Tembo, Where the Wild Things Are? they even introduced me to some new ones (Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems is adorable). In fact, they were so engrossed in the new books that they kept reading even as photographers and camera crews swarmed around them. They did take note, however, when Scott Palmer announced that the first 100 students to check out a book will receive free Phillies tickets!
It just seemed like a wonderful day to celebrate the birthday of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., an incredible man who once said, ?Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others??
Spending a few hours on a Monday morning may be a minor contribution, but if it helps children develop a passion for learning, cultivate self esteem, or expand their imagination, I think it will make a tremendous difference in the community.
I know one of my favorite things about being a Phillies ballgirl is the opportunity it provides me to give back to the Philadelphia area. With hectic schedules, full-time jobs, bills to pay, and loved ones to care for, it is hard for anyone to find time to volunteer. Still, I strongly encourage everyone to, ?Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.? (I stole that from Theodore Roosevelt, I?m not that eloquent.)
If you already do a lot of work for a charity, remember that our ballgirl softball team will take on any challengers to help you raise money for your cause. (And hopefully we can help you have some fun in the process!)
Take care and stay warm!
I?ve gotten to do a lot of amazing things as a ballgirl (I brag, I know): dance on the dugout with the Phillie Phanatic, celebrate with Phillies players after clinching the division, sit on the field during a NLDS playoff game, attend Jimmy Rollins? MVP press conference?the list goes on and on.
But I have to say that my favorite Phillies event thus far was visiting the Ludlow school last Monday to deliver toys, eat pizza, and just hang out.
Let me tell you, these children are special. It was just such a pleasure to meet such a great group of smart, funny, energetic kids. They were a little shy at first, but once they got some juice boxes and pizza in them they really opened up.
They could not have been more excited about their gifts of footballs, walkie talkies, and Yu-Gi-Oh cards. We had some very spirited games of monkey in the middle and one of them even helped me perfect my spiral (OK, not so much perfect as improve? I had a long way to go)!
I assumed that going down there and passing out toys would be a great service to do for these kids, but really it was a great service for me. In the midst of running around pushing through crowds to get Christmas shopping done, visualizing punching the people that stole my parking spot (even though I clearly had my blinker on), and having nightmares about the credit card bills to come, these kids reminded me that the simplest thing can make someone?s day? and that watching someone?s face light up at a little surprise is better than anything you could unwrap. I know, I?m cheesy. But the kids were really just that amazing.
So that?s what I?m looking forward to this season. Those little opportunities where by giving a kid a foul ball, or raising money for a great cause, or taking a picture with a fan, we ballgirls can make someone?s face light up. Because honestly, I think that?s the greatest power we have.
I?m also looking forward to having a baseball card where my hair isn?t really scary looking, but that?s a different story altogether.
My other ballgirl veterans are looking forward to a variety of things as well. Teresa wants to ?form new friendships with the girls that have been newly selected for the 2008 Ballgirls team; I hope to be a role model for them when it comes to involvement in the Philadelphia community.?
Christy is looking forward to ?Being a captain of some of the most talented ballgirls I know, the friendships I will make, the new uniforms, our charity events, and most of all what takes my breath away… being on a Major League Baseball field… its something about the sounds, smells, fans and the history of it all.? How poetic!
Debbie says, ?With one year under my belt, I know now not to take anything for granted because the season, appearances, charity events, and softball games were all over before I knew it or before I was ready for it all to end, which I didn?t. I almost didn?t know what to do with my time, just kidding, but without the Phillies it just didn?t feel the same! This team, the 2007 ballgirls and the fans made last season one I will never forget, and I know in 2008 it can only get better!
?I look forward to meeting all the new girls and only hope they get to experience the same intensity I felt last season because there is a lot more to being a ballgirl than most people know!! I am so excited to be a part of something that gives Philly fans something to cheer about?this is our year, I can feel it!?
As for Miss Lindsay B., ?I’m most looking forward to pre-game! I love the excitement on the field before a game. I get butterflies in my stomach with Dan Baker on the mic and the players warming up. My favorite thing is running from home plate to our spot on the line.?
And Justine? She?s looking forward to living in Philadelphia full time so she can finally make it to all of these events!
Well, it?s clear that none of us can wait for the end of March! As we bide out time until spring comes, we?ll be busy promoting our favorite team at local events (look for us on Monday Night Live on Jan. 21 and at Comcast SportsNet Kid?s Fest on Jan. 26). In the meantime, I?ll keep you posted!
Have a Happy New Year!!