Last Thursday, the Jackie Robinson Rotunda at Citi Field, home of the New York Mets, echoed with laughter and excitement. Kids from all over New York City gathered to take part in a day of activities meant to motivate them by teaching them about the life of baseball great Jackie Robinson. The program, known as Citi Field Kids Day, is now in its third year.
Jackie Robinson Scholar Daniella Jones led the group of middle school and high school students on a tour of the Jackie Robinson Rotunda, a section of the ballpark dedicated to the baseball player. Jones talked about Robinson's inspiring life. He became the first player to break baseball's color barrier when he signed a contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1945. Before Robinson, there were no African-American players in Major League Baseball. Robinson's life, said Jones, was guided by nine values: courage, integrity, determination, persistence, citizenship, justice, commitment, teamwork and excellence.
The kids then met with Wes Moore, author of a bestselling book about overcoming challenges in his own life. Moore spoke about Robinson's accomplishments. "We are the product of our expectations," Moore said, noting that Jackie Robinson faced many challenges yet had big goals and dreams. Moore encouraged the kids to reach out to those around them for support and guidance. Mets general manager Sandy Alderson also spoke about the importance of teamwork. "Little in life is accomplished on our own," he said.
The Mets mascot, Mr. Met, greeted all the kids and led them to their seats as the Mets took to the field to play the defending world champions, the San Francisco Giants. Proving that teamwork really does pay off, the Mets won the game 5-2. It was a great day on and off the field.