Dickey makes a difference
During this Major League Baseball offseason, while some players were spending time on the golf course, on the beach with their family or testing positive for Performance Enhancing Drugs, 2012 NL Cy Young Award winner, R.A. Dickey and his two daughters were helping save the lives of young children in the sex trafficking trade in India.
The 38-year-old former Tulsa Driller was in India in January, working alongside Bombay Teen Challenge, a Christian organization that has rescued women and children from sex trafficking for the past 23 years. Dickey was joined by his two daughters – Mary Gabriel (11) and Lila (9).
The sex abuse these children endure hits home for Dickey, as he wrote about being sexually abused as a child in his recent autobiography, Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball.
“It’s authentic to me because of my past experience, also I have a sentimentality to it because the girls that I’ve seen firsthand in the streets, these 19, 20-, 21-year-old girls,” Dickey told members of the Canadian press during a recent media conference call. “You have to look beyond that and see at one point they were daughters themselves, and having two daughters, that just for me was so compelling.”
Dickey, now with the Toronto Blue Jays, has been open with his daughters about his past and he said this is a learning experience for them as well.
“I want to give my children a heart for humanity,” Dickey said. “The only way to really do that is to get them outside of the bubble that they live in, and expose them in very measured ways to what real life is to a lot of people. They’ve responded beautifully.”
While in India, Dickey and his daughters helped celebrate the opening of a clinic in Mumbai’s red-light district. He helped pay for the clinic, raising over $100,000 by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro last winter.
“The facility is like a beacon of light in the middle of a swamp,” he said.
Most studies put the number of children involved in India’s sex trade at more than one million.
Dickey was asked how can one measure success in the face of such grim statistics.
“If the organization rescues one human life from that hell, then it’s done its job in some way,” Dickey said. “You’re talking over the last 23 years over 1,000 lives being rescued, given a second chance to have a life, rescuing children, people who were left for dead on doorsteps of these brothels…How do you measure success? I think it’s one life at a time.”
I can tell you right now, my vote in the balloting for the Roberto Clemente Award, given to the MLB player who best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual’s contribution to his team, will definitely be cast for Dickey.
I sure hope everyone else does the same this year.
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[Jeff Brucculeri is the author of several books, including "Powerful People Are Inspired by Powerful Athletes," available at www.tunedintosuccess.com. Contact; firstname.lastname@example.org.]