''Any time you have an opportunity to make a difference in this world and you don't, then you are wasting your time on Earth.'' --Roberto Clemente
Kevin Pillar is trying to follow in the footsteps of baseball's most famous philanthropist. On Tuesday, he was nominated as the Blue Jays nominee for the annual Roberto Clemente award, honouring players for their community involvement and philanthropy.
According to a recent article by Sportsnet's Shi Davidi, this passion for community service was instilled within Pillar during his time at Chaminade College Preparatory School in West Hills, Calif., which has obviously carried forward into his time as a professional baseball player. Currently, Pillar is invovled in a series of amateur baseball, education and health initiatives and has made several visits to children at hospitals throughout the country. He is also working in cooperation with MLB's Action Team aimed at creating volunteering opportunities at his former high school.
Now many of you might be saying to yourself that professionals shouldn't be recognized for doing responsible things with their money and fame such as volunteering and trying to make the world a better place. You could say that it's beneficial to them for their image and future earnings to donate both their time and money to charities with the pedestal that they're put on as professional athletes. These thoughts are more or less true. But that doesn't mean everyone does it to the same degree. That doesn't mean that everyone is concentrating the same amount of energy on helping others and, "making a difference in this world," as the next. Some do the bare minimum, some go over the top.
As with his theatrics on the field, Kevin Pillar goes over the top.
"It's incredibly humbling to be nominated for this award amidst a group of such talented players doing great things both on and off the baseball field," Pillar said to Gregor Chisholm. "I'm fortunate to play for a team that plays for an entire country, and I'm proud to be in a position to bring a smile to so many faces that cheer us on each and every day."
Pillar sets the example of how athletes should act given the stage they've been given and earned with their talents. To some people, these men are just baseball players but to a lot of people--kids, the sick, less fortunate--they are heroes. They're hope. They're a distraction from the things in life that make obsessing over a baseball game seem completely irrational.
While no Blue Jay has ever won the Roberto Clemente award, that doesn't take away the significance of what Mr. Pillar has done with his time thus far. He may not win the award either but his work should still be commended.
More athletes, and more importantly, people, can aspire to follow the lead of people like Pillar. To take time to be more than just the people they portray themselves to be during their jobs and careers.
To not waste time and make a difference on this earth.