From Fort Myers, Florida, where the Boston Red Sox are in the early stages of Spring Training, Boston Globe sportswriter Pete Abraham reports the following scene involving Kevin Youkilis, the Boston third baseman:
The Red Sox infielders were taking grounders on Field 2 this morning when a kid who looked to be 10 or 11 yelled out, “Hey, Youk, give me a ball!”
Kevin Youkilis looked up and said, “What’s the right way to ask?” Chagrined, the kid said, “Can I please have a ball?”
Youk tossed the kid a ball. “Don’t ever forget that for the rest of your life,” he said.
“Thanks,” said the kid.
It may not take a village to raise a child, but the village can certainly help out, especially those who children admire, look up to and respect. Kevin Youkilis took the time to teach a boy he had never seen before a crucial lesson about politeness, civility and respect, and because the lesson came from a baseball player, the boy really might remember it for the rest of his life. This was a gift. It only took a few seconds, but it might make a huge difference over time as the boy grows to manhood, and all because a professional athlete accepted the responsibility of being a role model.
Nice job, Youk.
Now try to stay healthy this year.