Baseball, Mental Toughness

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Life in the Grandstand Is a Waste

Published: 2022-07-16
Life in the Grandstand Is a Waste
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When Jackie Robinson said "If you're going to spend your whole life in the grandstand just watching what goes on, in my opinion, you're wasting your life," some things were different.

But, for a black boy, some of the differences today make life even more difficult.

Let’s say you’re a black boy in Atlanta; you’re a teen; your body is going through some amazing changes; your dad, sibling or mentor, has already given you “the talk”—the one that tells you how to stay alive when a cop inevitably ends up on your pathway.

What’s important to young black boys' difference lists today?

If you’re Deyshawn Myers you “would change things in my neighborhood, such as gun violence, police patrols, and increase the types of restaurants and retail stores”

Deyshawn’s story is just one of several I intend to tell for kids I’ve come to love and admire for their participation in the L.E.A.D. Center for Youth

At The Center, we are driven to bring living, coping, and thriving skills to young black boys, and we take to heart Jackie Robinson’s adage to stay out of the grandstands and get into the game of life by using baseball as a learning platform like he did.

Sure, the big leagues may be a pipe dream for some of these kids, but scholarships are a great life preserver floating around in many collegiate streams and they have a 25% renewal rate as graduations open more every year.

How we launch lead, expose, advise and direct at The Center takes many forms and affects the challenged boys and young men who participate in different ways. 

In Deyshown’s case, it’s his focus that impresses me most, but it’s his story to tell.

He’ll tell you:

“I feel good about school and I love school. I feel like it's a place that lets me get time away from all the bad things going on.” 

“One thing I wish is that we had more say so in the schedule regarding what classes we take.”

”My goal is to make it to the NBA or NFL and I work hard to do it.”

“Before I joined L.E.A.D. I played football for my school in hopes of making my dreams come true to be in the NFL.”

“When I heard of the LEAD Ambassadors program I was thinking, baseball can be a new sport to try. I joined LEAD's program, and now have I really started to love baseball.”

Deyshawn is one of 250 boys in our programs. We focus on uplifting and empowering 6th-12th grade Black boys who come from low-income households and who are underperforming in the areas of grades, attendance, and/or behavior.

All of our student-athletes are from inner-city communities throughout Atlanta and attend Atlanta Public Schools.

Our year-round programming consists of activities across our four pillars of focus--academics, athletics, civic engagement, and commerce-- delivered in a trauma-informed, culturally responsive framework that is centered around our student-athletes’ racial, linguistic and cultural identities.