Last year I made a trip to Calgary, Alberta (Canada) for one of my Cutting Edge Clinics. Thanks to host Randy Peron of the Red Jackets, the clinic was a tremendous success… with 60+ kids and 20+ coaches in attendance.
As much as I enjoyed my workout with the players and my private Q & A with the coaches, the real highlight of the trip was being able to volunteer at a ‘Feed the Hungry’ shelter afterwards. Led by Coach Peron, nearly 40 players/parents of Red Jacket Basketball (and myself of course) served hot meals to the less fortunate for 3 hours that Sunday afternoon. I am proud to say we fed almost 600 people in that window.
As cliché as it may sound, it reminded me that life is so much bigger than basketball.
It was an unbelievably rewarding experience and one I will remember for the rest of my life. I have not volunteered at a ‘soup kitchen’ since I was in college (and only did so then because it was required by one of my classes).
That is going to change.
I’ve already researched a few similar programs here in the DC area and I plan to make the time to volunteer. Better yet, when my children are a little bit older, I plan to inspire them to come with me.
Volunteering at ‘Feed The Hungry’ really helped me re-focus my perspective. I have an amazing life. I am healthy, happy and can’t remember a day that I didn’t eat 4 or 5 meals. And while I’d like to believe I am a grateful person in general… spending an afternoon with folks who are much, much less fortunate really crystalized how lucky I am and how thankful I should be.
And as much as I enjoyed serving hot meals, I actually enjoyed interacting and talking with the folks that came in even more. Helping put a smile on their faces really warmed my heart. I reaped every bit the benefit of that afternoon as the folks that came in.
I know that living here in the DC area, where homeless people are on (literally) every street corner, it’s easy to get numb to it. It’s easy for them to become invisible.
That’s what makes this one of the most powerful videos I have ever seen in my life:
And while I certainly don’t have the funds to give every homeless person my spare change, I do have the strength of character to ‘notice’ them, to look them in the eye as a fellow human being and to give them the courtesy of a kind word.
And while I am a busy guy, I am not too busy to make the time to volunteer once every few months to help the less fortunate.
Will you join me?
Always have an attitude of gratitude,