Do yourself a favor tonight and spend some time watching a child’s game, played by men, who have the ability to inspire children on so many different levels.
Tonight’s Major League Baseball All-Star Game will feature some of the game’s best players. It also can feature some of the game’s — or business’, if you will — best people giving back to their community, regardless of which team or town they happen to play with or on.
In the scheme of things, it’s a meaningless game. It doesn’t count in the standings; in matters of importance, it can’t even come close to day-to-day issues most of us deal with, such as health care, childcare or myriad other problems.
It’s just a game. Your favorite team is not going to fall behind in the race for the postseason if the American League or National League wins or loses.
It’s easy to see when professional athletes break the rules, not only of the game, but of society.
It’s also too easy to overlook when they do play the game right and do give back to the fans and the community.
During the regular season, winning for a professional athlete and organization is the brass ring.
Branch Rickey, the president of the old Brooklyn Dodgers, wanted to win, obviously. So, in 1945, he signed Major League Baseball’s first black player, Jackie Robinson.
While many consider Rickey’s decision a social one — to some extent, it was — it was also an astute business one. Rickey understood a winning team sold more tickets.
And sometimes, little things professional athletes give back to their communities are large.
Astros player — and a player in tonight’s All-Star Game — George Springer as a child stuttered. For many of us, that might seem like a small thing, but for Springer, it wasn’t.
“I was that kid that didn’t want to speak in class and tried to avoid certain situations,” Springer said three years ago when he became a spokesman for The Stuttering Association for the Young.
“But then, once I just accepted it, it actually changed my outlook on pretty much everything and made me a lot happier with myself. … Embrace it and don’t let it prevent you from doing the things that you want to do in life.”
So, Springer did a small, but large thing. He became a spokesman for young people.
Tonight is about men playing a child’s game, with all its best aspects, that children enjoy and adults should remember to enjoy.
• Dave Mathews