Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Why We Do What We Do

Our On This Day today features the story of Roberto Clemente (click here). He had a Baseball Hall of Fame career for the Pittsburgh Pirates, highlighted by his remarkable MVP-earning heroics in the first World Series ever played at night in 1971. And he was just as solid on the social front, being active in so many causes in his native Puerto Rico, his adopted home city of Pittsburgh, and elsewhere in the world. So it was no surprise that Clemente chose to celebrate New Year's Eve in 1972 by collecting relief supplies for victims of an earthquake in Nicaragua and flying on the plane that was delivering them. Tragically, this gesture resulted in this noble figure being taken from us way too early, as the plane crashed on takeoff. My young son wears a t-shirt with Clemente's name and number on it; grown men stop him in the street with tears in their eyes as they speak admiringly of Clemente. I sent the story around to a slew of friends today; a few wrote back to say they remembered exactly where they were when they heard the news. And yet several wrote back "great article, funny, I had never heard of him." With most current articles about our top athletes decidedly negative, we need to keep alive the memory of athletes such as Roberto Clemente, who had a mission in life that did not end when he crossed home plate.

In the vein of keeping stories alive, FindingDulcinea also presents today the Ten Stories that Defined 2008.

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