All over the world, athletes are revered by their fans with admiration of their physical prowess. But for many of these athletes, it is their off the field activities that will make them remembered by the community. Professional athletes not only make enough money to donate money to causes, but through their adoring fans, also gain enough clout to change the world. Often times, athletes are criticized for their harmful habits and misuse of their income for frivolous items. Although this is occasionally true, in many cases players help improve the world they live in.
The reasons athletes choose to participate in charity are variable. Some use their success to help provide opportunities for success for others. Others want people to grow up in better situations than they grew up in. Some feel that their community supported them and therefore they feel obligated to give the community similar support. Whatever their motivation happens to be, athletes have improved the lives of many people and will continue to do so in the future. Even before athletes were paid an unimaginable amount of money, Roberto Clemente still contributed to bettering the world. Clemente was born in Puerto Rico, a historically poor country, in a poor neighborhood. Through his extraordinary baseball skills he was able to become a professional baseball player in the United States. He never forgot about Puerto Rico and the rest of Latin America and worked without rest to improve these poor countries by giving children opportunities in baseball and school. When relief supplies for the citizens of Nicaragua were being diverted by the government, Clemente took action and decided to fly the supplies their personally. Unfortunately, he gave his life to this charity when his plane crashed shortly after takeoff. His legacy after his death was one of not only exceptional baseball moments, but also a pioneer in charity to Latin American nations. He was an excellent example of someone who considered it his moral duty to help others.
Many athletes have even gone a step further than simply doing rough charity work; others have created their own foundations. These athletes will pick a cause and in the offseason build an entire organization from the ground up with the sole purpose of helping that cause. For example, now retired football player Warrick Dunn was born with a single parent and experienced difficult times during his childhood because of money problems. During his playing days, Dunn formed the Warrick Dunn Foundation to help ease the burden on single parents. This cause was important to him to such a point that he even provided the down payment on new homes for over 100 single-parent families in the Miami area. He understood that there were children experiencing the same hardships he experienced during childhood and instead of perpetuating off field antics, he chose to be constructive in helping the community. Many athletes other than Warrick Dunn have their own foundations including Peyton Manning, Lolo Jones, and Derek Jeter. These athletes all have their own specific causes that can be easily researched. Simply think of a cause that you would like to contribute to and then find an athlete that feels the same way you do. This is a great way to bring sports into your own charity work! Helping people is important and sports is a great way for people to gain the power to do so.