A GLOVE OF THEIR OWN
The recession of 2008, long documented as the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, has impacted not only Wall Street and the American pocketbook, but the American psyche.
As such, there has been a symptomatic withdrawal not only by the American consumer, but by the American family and thus, by extension, the American neighborhood. And such has left many communities unengaged and in a state of bewilderment, with others steeped within the depths of despair.
It is in such times of crisis that the national fabric becomes torn and many feel displaced and disconnected. Yet, there remain some select individuals who take it upon themselves to offer hope, in helping to present a new paradigm for a collective morale boost, by uniting families with neighborhoods, and in helping to reconnect those neighborhoods with their respective communities; revisiting those values once identified as the essence of the American spirit.
And in that effort, a unique “movement” is evolving by way of a New Jersey father, most proud of his two children, and outwardly dedicated to reaching out to all children, in order that they too may continue to pass on the once held dear concept of “giving back”, as they become adults and raise children of their own. And Salomon and his wife do no less with their own two youngsters.
Bob Salomon is a name you will be hearing about. He is using the concept of children participating in sports as the vehicle to communicate his all encompassing goal of giving back. His first effort has evolved through the game of baseball. More specifically, the illustrated children’s book, A Glove of Their Own, published in November 2008, has caught fire and is the centerpiece of Salomon’s main vision.
The story is about a group of youngsters playing a pick-up game of baseball on a local neighborhood lot. Unfortunately, not all have bats and gloves to properly play the game. But a retired gentleman comes across them playing, only to return another day with a duffle bag filled with used gloves, bats and balls from games gone by, used by his own children. He then donates them all to the group of children. It but sets a good example for the children and serves to inspire them to keep on playing the game they love.
As a direct result of brainstorming with two friends, the eventual co-authors of A Glove of Their Own,
Debbie Moldovan, Keri Conkling and Lisa Funari-Willever, Salomon was presented a written story, and later beautifully illustrated by Lauren Lambiase and published by Franklin Mason Press.
But it was Salomon’s tenacity that convinced Funari-Willever, also Franklin Mason’s publisher, to see his project through, assuring her that she would not regret her involvement. Funari-Willever, herself, has dedicated much of her life to giving back and was the main force behind Salomon’s now realized proposition.
The end result of this collaborative effort was not just that of publishing a nice children’s story, but an extended benefit from it arose. It would serve as an example for children to be forthright, unselfish, giving and grateful. But equally important to Salomon, is that children are reminded to have fun while playing the game of baseball, and all sports, and to point out that just being a kid is okay, too.
Yet, it was only through A Glove of Their Own that Salomon realized his deep-felt obligation to become a facilitator of charitable efforts, not only by continuing to publish children’s sports stories, but by reaching out to a variety of organizations and media entities as well.
The intent is to pique the interest of professional athletes, professional sports franchises, sports-affiliated businesses, community invested corporations, and non-profit agencies, amongst others. And Salomon hopes to meld various partnerships to approach communities. These communities would then become their own facilitators with the intended goal of encouraging children’s participation in extra-curricular organized sports, funded by a combination of various entities and manifesting fundraisers nationwide.
However, the underlying theme, which Salomon insists must remain, is that professional athletes, both active and now retired, start making more of an investment in their local communities in which they play or in which they reside.
And it would behoove these professional athletes, and those now retired from professional play, to become involved on their own accord, rather than, for example, through a required clause in their playing contracts to perform volunteer work, which many Major League Baseball (MLB), National Football League (NFL), National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Hockey League (NHL) professional teams now require as part of player negotiated deals.
Charity is but a gift and giving back should ultimately come from the heart. And Salomon truly believes that children will see through those athletes who are merely going through the motions, thereby not setting a good example for them. He wants to work with those who are dedicated in their intent to reach out to the children in the community, and simply because it is the right thing to do, rather than to garner accolades for themselves.
At such a time when discretionary income is dangerously low nationwide, it is imperative that municipalities, local communities, schools and neighborhoods alike, come together in innovative ways to mobilize future generations to continue to thrive; to return the favors bestowed upon them by enjoining the public with the private sector to a positive end.
Salomon has duly impressed many already in the private sector such as Rich Lampmann, Director of Promotions and Public Relations of Modell’s Sporting Goods. “The memories of the pick-up games in the yard or at the field, stick with us for a lifetime. Bob and his team have taken this a step further and are not only promoting the game…but also using the games as a means of spreading sportsmanship and teamwork for the greater good.”
And Rick Redman, Vice President of Corporate Communications for the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory notes, “It’s a wonderful story that everyone can learn from; kids and adults. Plus, it’s tied to many great causes and provides the chance to donate funds to your favorite baseball charity. How could we say no to Bob Salomon? He has a drive and passion that’s unmatched.”
There also are many retired athletes who have leant their support to A Glove of Their Own such as former MLB players Craig Biggio, Bernie Williams, Sean Casey, Jason Grilli, Tommy John, Roy White, Phil Niekro, Bud Harrelson, current Los Angeles Dodgers manager, Joe Torre, former Yankee great Yogi Berra and the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center, and many others.
And Bob Salomon hopes to collaborate with active MLB players such as Joe Mauer, starting catcher for the Minnesota Twins, and Nick Swisher, the right fielder for the New York Yankees. Both players are dedicated philanthropists in their own right, making giving back through charity a priority in their lives off the field. And there are a bevy of many well intentioned athletes in the NFL, NBA and NHL who Salomon continually reaches out to in hopes of being afforded the opportunity to meet with them on future charitable endeavors.
Salomon is also involved in a collaborative effort with former MLB pitcher, Tommy John, as a producer of a film documentary. It will feature John’s life and center on the now worldwide famous Tommy John Surgery now considered the state-of-the-art corrective surgical procedure for injured elbows, based upon John’s own surgery decades ago. It not only saved John’s career but has extended the careers of countless other players, not only in MLB, but throughout professional and amateur sports.
Those wishing to learn more about A Glove of Their Own can visit its website, agloveoftheirown.com where
one can learn more about all of its affiliated organizations, including corporations, broadcast media outlets, non-profit agencies and other athletes and celebrities touched by the spirit of giving.
And Salomon also wants to ensure that individuals can play a participatory role in whatever way they choose, in order to give back. It does not necessarily have to be on a grand scale or with relationship to an agency or corporate interest, either. Any small acts of kindness and involvement in neighborhoods and communities is the intent of Salomon’s purpose. Or folks may choose to go the route of purchasing copies of A Glove of Their Own and rallying others to participate in that way as well.
As such, books may be purchased through either agloveoftheirown.com or through franklinmasonpress.com. Franklin Mason Press donates $.10 from the sale of each book to the following organizations: Good Sports, Sports Gift, and Pitch in for Baseball. In addition, $3.00 per sold book will be given to any school or non-profit organization that joins Salomon’s effort.
His immediate next project is to publish a children’s book involving football as the theme, this time. But again, his effort is far more than a hyped up version of pay it forward, and rather a rallying cry to nurture our children. In doing so, we will all be better human beings for it will serve to enrich the quality of all of our lives, both locally and nationally, for decades to come. And that should be a priority for all of us.
“Success is not the place one arrives, but rather the spirit with which one undertakes and continues the journey.” – Alex Noble