In order to help kids stay committed to and reap the benefits of playing sports, ESPN and the Aspen Institute launched the ‘#DontRetireKid’ campaign, where they enlisted professional sports stars to personally convince young athletes to remain active.
Clayton Kershaw and Cody Bellinger recently starred in one such video, with an assist from the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation, personally appealing to nine-year-old Colt.
Colt had been “burned out” from baseball and wanted to hang up his cleats. At least, until Kershaw, the Dodgers’ longtime ace, and Bellinger, the team’s superstar outfielder, asked him to reconsider:
— Dodgers Foundation (@DodgersFdn) August 9, 2019
In the clip, aired on ESPN’s SportsCenter, Kershaw made an impassioned plea, referring to memories from when he was Colt’s age. Bellinger kept his speech short and to the point.
Unsurprisingly, a personal message from two of the biggest stars on the best team in baseball was enough to change Colt’s mind. After watching the video from the Dodgers foundation, Colt wrote a long response letter to Kershaw and Bellinger.
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Colt wanted to take a break from playing baseball over the summer and wasn’t sure if he wanted to play anymore. Then he watched these videos from @cody_bellinger and @claytonkershaw that were posted through the @dodgersfoundation . Their words had such impact on him that he wanted to write a letter back to them! Thank you @dodgers and @espn for caring enough to do campaigns like this, and inspire the youth! Your words had a huge impact on my 9 year old! Swipe right to see the video #dontretirekid
In it, he said he had changed his mind and would continue playing baseball.
The #DontRetireKid campaign was created after studies showed that over 62% of kids were giving up youth sports for good. Other sports stars supporting the campaign include former Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant and Los Angeles Angels first baseman Albert Pujols.
Justin Turner, who recently hosted a baseball camp for young athletes, highlighted the importance of playing multiple sports.
“One of the things that’s happened now, especially in California, Florida and Texas, where you pretty much have good weather year-round, is baseball gets crammed down kids’ throats for 12 months a year,” he told DodgerBlue.com.
“I think it’s good to take a break from it and get into other sports. It really is a different type of athleticism when you’re playing basketball, a different type of athleticism when you’re playing soccer, when you’re playing football.
“I played roller hockey for a couple years when I was growing up. But also what that does is give you that three-month break from the game and makes you kind of yearn to get back on the field. You have that sense of, ‘Oh, it’s baseball season again!’ Where if you’re playing it year-round, yeah, you might be mastering the game of baseball at nine, but it also burns out some kids.”