There are things much greater than sports. As fans, we easily get snagged in the daily pursuit of victory and harangue over spoiled, wealthy athletes. But there are times when an organization does things right and serves the community that supports them. The White Sox have done this for decades with Sox Charities, but this particular story caught our eye.
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) June 27, 2018
Often times, through the Make a Wish Foundation and other charities, children facing illness and other catastrophic life events are invited to stadiums to meet their heroes, but most of the time the kids pull through. Yet, there are times where the sadness of tragedy blankets our lives.
Although Nicky Delmonico is shelved with a hand injury, his ability to connect with the Lopez family transcends his on-field role. Isabel died on September 21, 2017, mere days after Delmonico and White Sox Teammates visited her in the hospital.
The Lopez family is not the only family the White Sox have showered rays of sunshine on. Sox Charities is active in the community in several ways to help uplift ailing neighborhoods and provide cause for optimism among the groups that support them on the field.
The White Sox joined Creating Real Economic Diversity (CRED) and KaBOOM in June to rebuild a playground in the Pullman neighborhood. The idea found its genesis from a group of men who were asked to lay down their guns in one of the most underserved and violent neighborhoods in Chicago. In return, they asked for a park for their kids to play in.
Former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is a partner in this initiative and said the following about the project:
“When I asked the young men what they wanted from us in return for laying down their guns, they said they wanted a park for their kids. It was incredibly powerful. … It also is symbolically important as it is a park that has been neglected. Built in partnership with KaBOOM!, this playground will honor the leadership and commitment to peace that these young men have made.”
It isn’t always the most ambitious projects that have the greatest impact. Sometimes a simple gesture can have a sweeping outcome.
“When we first heard about the background of this opportunity, we were humbled by the incredible simplicity of the request and the same basic drive to create a better place for kids that we all share,” said Christine O’Reilly, White Sox vice president of community relations. “On behalf of the entire White Soxorganization, we are honored to be a part of this project to help build the dream playground for the youth in Pullman, while also contributing to innovative solutions that help bring community members together and invest in Chicago communities that need it most. We are grateful to Chicago CRED and KaBOOM! for allowing us to be a part of such a meaningful project in Chicago.”
Besides the Pullman park that will begin construction in August, June has been an aggressive month for the White Sox to pay it forward. June 11 – 16 was Sox Serve Week with a menu of events including a visit to La Rabida Children’s Hospital to memorabilia auctions.
The White Sox also hosted the Beyond the Diamond Charity Event in April that presented an evening of frivolity where donors and players could rub elbows to help Sox Charities’ initiatives. Events like these helped raise $29 million since the non-profit was created and disperse $1.5 million to various organizations over the last nine years.
But money isn’t everything. Sometimes it is just a visit to a dying child’s bedside that can give a family a moment of relief from unthinkable pain.