It’s been a busy summer of baseball for the Cubs Insider executive staff, which consists of yours truly. Absent the typical entourage of yes-men and general hangers-on, I tend to travel either solo or with the assistance of one or both of my junior staffers. Such is the case this weekend, when I head to North Chicago for a baseball clinic being held by the MLB Players Alumni Association in coordination with CTX Ability Sports.
I’m reasonably sure the latter organization one with which most of your are not yet familiar, so please take a few moments to read up a little bit on who they are and what they do. When I first wrote about CTX Ability Sports and what they were doing for kids in Texas, their executive director, John Lorek, reached out to me via the comments section of the article. Since then, we’ve been in communication about a potential Chicago clinic.
Those conversations eventually became a reality, thanks mainly to Lorek’s tireless efforts (and I’ve got the email chains to prove it) and the coordination of several different Chicagoland organizations. The “Legends For Youth” clinic will take place from 3-5 pm CST at Foss Park District and will include groups for kids from 2-10, and 11 and over, and also for those with disabilities. My son will be participating in the former, but it’s the latter group that really drew me to this in the first place.
I have to admit that I’m not much of an outreach guy; I don’t do missions, don’t really volunteer much. Heck, I don’t even like visiting hospitals or nursing homes to see loved ones who are in failing health. But when I first saw the story of what CTX Ability Sports was doing for little kids who would never have otherwise had the chance to play baseball, it really moved me. I mean, I’m slow and sporting a nice spare tire these days — and was never the first picked as a kid — but I’ve always been able to play.
To see the smiles on those children’s faces as they were able to participate on a field that was just for them was just incredible. I’ve had a pretty decent summer, baseball-wise: I coached my son in his first year of live pitching, took my kids to their first night game at Wrigley, had a phenomenal road trip to see the Tennessee Smokies, and even led the 7th inning stretch for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. The clinic on Saturday sounds like the perfect way to cap things off.
And if any of you reading this are within a short enough drive of the event, I’d love to see you there as well. There are plenty of spots available and registration is free. There’ll be lots of things to keep the children entertained. Well, if bounce house, mini therapy horses, fire truck, police cars, popcorn machine, and a sno cone machine would appeal to your kids.
Even if your kids aren’t really into baseball and you just want to use it as an excuse to meet some former MLB players, there will be about half a dozen in attendance. Names from your baseball past like Steve Trout, Von Hayes, Dan Pasqua, and Gene Hiser will all be there working with the kids.
Oh, and did I mention that registration is FREE? I did? Okay, well, I wanted to really drive that home. And if all that other stuff isn’t enough, you’ll get the chance to meet me, which is worth the commute in and of itself. If you don’t recognize my face right away, I’ll be the guy with the Cubs Insider shirt and goofy grin. My hope is that getting the chance to play a little baseball and help some kids will give some of you a similar disposition.
I’ll probably be doing some live-tweeting from the clinic and I may even broadcast some of it via Periscope, but I’d love to get more folks there to see it in person. Once again, the clinic is being held at Foss Park District (located at 1730 Lewis Ave in North Chicago) this Saturday from 2-5 pm CST and plenty of spots are available for all the different groups. I look forward to meeting some of you there.