As the 88 m.p.h. sinker flew toward the plate all eyes inside Wrigley Field were focused on Chicago Cubs first baseman Bryan LaHair. But no eyes were more focused than those of brothers and Goethe Elementary Work to Play students Ricky and Tyler. With his teammate on third base Bryan did what he does best, swung his bat with all of his power and launched a towering sacrifice fly, putting the Cubs on the board in the bottom of the first inning. Ricky, Tyler, their Mother Monica and Father Richard all cheered loudly for Bryan and continued to throughout the entire game.
As a kid growing up in inner city Massachusetts, Bryan LaHair credits an afterschool sports program for keeping him out of trouble and taught him the importance living an active lifestyle at a young age. That is why Bryan sought out an organization that provides similar experience opportunities to those he had as a child for youth in his new home city – Chicago. Bryan heard about the programs and lessons Urban Initiatives provides for Chicago’s underserved youth and immediately wanted to help out in as many ways as he could.
The Cubs went on to defeat the Cincinnati Reds 6-1, as fans filed out of the stadium the fun for Ricky and Tyler was just beginning. Through his new partnership with Urban Initiatives, Bryan LaHair held a fundraiser for the youth we serve by hosting an autograph session immediately following his game this past Saturday. Rather than relishing the victory he just helped the Cubs achieve, Bryan took time to meet with fans and sign baseballs and pictures all to help Urban Initiatives raise funds to continue offering its quality Health and Education Soccer Program for kids throughout the city.
Although much of the focus was on Bryan, he gave special guests Ricky and Tyler his full attention. Asking them what their favorite sports and healthy foods are, Ricky answered, “Baseball and carrots!” while Tyler responded, “Soccer and apples!” As Tyler and Ricky sat next to Bryan they had their own questions. Ricky asked what teamwork meant to him and how does he show it when he’s on the baseball field. Bryan immediately answered, “Teamwork is always being there for your teammates. Whether it’s during practice or during a game, letting them know you have their back and they can count on you for help at any time is what teamwork means to me.”
Ricky and Tyler’s parents were very happy to have had spent such an amazing day with their boys at the Cubs game. Monica, Ricky and Tyler’s mom was very appreciative of the opportunity to meet Bryan “I think it’s great for Bryan to be so passionate about helping the youth in Chicago.” Once the signing was over Ricky and Tyler asked Bryan to come out to one of their game days and run around with their teammates from Goethe, they also thanked him for the “greatest time of their lives” as both boys put it.
The Urban Initiatives Work to Play students will be seeing plenty of Bryan LaHair throughout the rest of the Spring Season. In fact, last night, in front of 300 Urban Initiatives soccer players and supporters, Bryan tied the game in the bottom of the 9th with a towering home run, allowing the Cubs to win it in the 10th. The game was a big thrill, and Urban Initiatives wants to send a big thank you to the Cubs and Bryan LaHair!