I’m more like a master chef

The first pitch is at noon and 2:30PM on Tuesday’s and Thursday each week for our Jr. Ambassadors (grades 6th-8th) this summer at Booker T. Washington High School (Atlanta Public Schools) but the next game actually starts after each game played.

Developing the raw baseball talent of inner city Atlanta African-American males requires vision, intuition, patience and persistence to name a few.

To be clear, I view “raw” as a good thing. Take a raw potato for instance. A master chef can do a lot with a raw potato. He can’t do much with potatoes that are already mashed except to serve them.

I’ve never been afraid of raw talent because I am a master chef. That doesn’t mean that I don’t shake my head in disbelief after they do some things on the baseball field that I have never seen before.

My vision is simple. L.E.A.D. is empowering an at risk generation to lead and transform their city of Atlanta so that our Ambassadors can lead their city to lead the world. Our Ambassadors don’t have to play in the majors. However I do expect one of them to be a U.S. Senator by 2040. One of our current U.S. Senators representing the state of Georgia is Johnny Isakson who is an Atlanta Public School alum.

Intuition is a must have skill while developing raw baseball talent. I plan for the best each day while expecting the worst until I can get them further along with necessary things like arriving on time and being engaged while at practice. These are the skills that matter the most for their lives beyond baseball. They love baseball and I use the game 12 months per year to help them develop these skills.

L.E.A.D. has helped me develop so much patience. I avoided working with raw talent for years prior to L.E.A.D. because I didn’t have the patience for it. This is hard stuff. It seems like I’m coaching everything from picking up trash to respecting others to wearing your uniform the right way to not using profanity on the field. Constant reminders to make eye contact and on and on. If I don’t do it, it doesn’t get done. I’m blessed to have several of our college Ambassador alums here this summer help me coach the Jr. Ambassadors along with the help of our high school Ambassadors.

When the going gets tough, I have to keep going. The year 2040 is coming quick and the fertile ground has to be tilled now. I’m not crazy and I’m not wrong for pouring into these precious young men. As we carry out our programming at Booker T. Washington High School, I’m reminded of the selfless work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who is a Washington High School alum.

I know why a lot people quit on children in the inner city of Atlanta. Because we don’t know where to begin with them. That’s another blog but now it is 12:30AM and I must say good night because we have another game in less than 12 hours and I’m 
coaching coaches to coach the Ambassadors to coach the Jr. Ambassadors. Gotta love it!