How Sports Mentoring Helps Youth Avoid Tobacco Dangers

chewing tobaccoOnce again it is time for the annual fall classic that is major league baseball. This tradition is over 100 years old and this country’s national pastime. Mr. Doubleday’s recreation has been exported to Japan and all points in between. This is a good time to take a look at how Jackie Robinson West Little League, Joseph Haley and Tony Gwynn are intertwined.

Here in Chicago, baseball has a new champion, the Jackie Robinson West Little League. It was the efforts of one man, Joseph Howard Haley, whose aim was to develop and implement a little league that would become a vehicle of encouragement and a positive example for the youth of the community.

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In 1971, a few hundred of the neighborhood boys around Mt. Vernon Park, on Chicago’s South Side, began to put Mr. Haley’s vision to the test. I was lucky enough to play for Mr. Haley’s team, the Mt. Vernon Mustangs (JRW- All Star Team Class of 1972). It was an electric moment. While most of us just wanted to be on a team with our friends, we did not realize that we were being subsequently taught lessons in teamwork, community pride and self-esteem.