Today, my brother-in-law put together a little league tournament in honor of Lou Gehrig Day to raise awareness and money for our family. I was asked to throw the first pitch, which I deferred to my son. I was also asked to kick off the tournament with a short speech:
First and foremost, I want to thank you for being here as we acknowledge what an awful disease ALS is and what an amazing game baseball is. In 1939, Lou Gehrig spoke these words at Yankees Stadium: “For the past two weeks, you have been reading about a bad break. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth."
I obviously didn't know Lou; however, I know his spirit. Life is going to dish out all kinds of bad breaks, but I am here to tell you today that life cannot take away our spirit and our love. Build your life on love, and nothing can ever take that away from you.
Boys, one day you will be men. You start building your life on love today and never, ever stop. And baseball is an incredible place to start learning discipline, passion, respect, and love. Love for the game. Love for teammates, coaches, your opponents' fans, and umpires. Well, maybe not umpires, but you respect them. Always. And baseball is where we learn to have fun.
So, let’s play ball!