In today’s society, whether athletes chose to recognize it or not, they are looked to as both heroes and role models. Being in the spotlight subjects them to positive and negative publicity. Our community and youth focus on what these players do on the field and off. Many of our Valley sports stars are very active in the community and chose to lead a life that can be looked up to, just by their involvement with the public.
Athletes who are involved with their community are ones who are volunteering their time to help at charity events. One player who is embracing his ability to make a difference is Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. In his efforts to help others in need he sponsored a Celebrity Softball Tournament at Salt River Fields.
Joining Fitzgerald at his event were former teammate and Super Bowl champ Kurt Warner and Valley residents Donovan McNabb and Jared Allen, among others. These players dedicated their time to help raise money for The Carol Fitzgerald Memorial Fund and Partners in Malawi.
The Carol Fitzgerald Memorial Fund is dedicated to Larry Fitzgerald’s mom, who passed away from breast cancer eight years ago. Carol devoted her life to helping those who had been diagnosed with cancer, AIDS and other diseases. Her Memorial Fund provides assistance in the battle against HIV/AIDS among African Americans and supports African American women who are battling breast cancer.
This event not only helped raise money for charities but also allowed valley residents to interact with their favorite athletes and see the positive influences they have in the community. “We used the platform we have to try and influence the people around us,” Warner said. “When it’s all said and done people are going to forget what we did on the football field, but the people that are impacted never forget what we do off.”
Social media has a large impact on athletes connecting with their fans. For example, on twitter, Fitzgerald posts “FAITH FOCUS FINISH.” Fitzgerald’s followers can apply this to their everyday life both socially and spiritually. It reminds them to stay focused on their goals and finish the tasks at hand.
Larry Fitzgerald’s Celebrity Softball Tournament demonstrates how football players, hockey players and even musicians can come together and create a positive influence in our community. This event was both a celebration of giving but also a day in which fans were able to see how athletes are involved with their community.