Maybe I can be so philanthropic because I’m not dealing with my personal reality, but I like to think I’d do this.
Steps in not necessarily logical, chronological order:
Establish a foundation to provide for youth sports AND academics. Not just inner-city (a term I’ve always thought funny, because where is the outer city?) Equipment, coaching, tutoring, etc. And for ALL sports, baseball, softball, hoops, hockey, lacrosse, soccer - where there’s a need, we’re there.
How do we fund this? By a voluntary system of donations from super-gazillionaire athletes. You know, the ones that were once playing as kids and wanted for equipment, good coaching, etc? I would start by (and here I assume the mythological role as Man With a Cat, former…oh let’s say multiple all-star, HOF, retired NHL player with a few rings and my name on the Cup) contacting some of my peers in other major sports. We’re the organizing committee, and we do two things first.
2a) Establish an executive board of people that know how to run this sort of thing competently and fairly.
2b) We each go to the players, or ex players in our game and play on some guilt and sense of fairness. “Hey, Mr Hero, yes you just signed a 6 year, $120 million contract, and yes you damn well deserve it, and yes you have to take care of your family, blah blah. But really, that’s a lot more money than anyone really is ever going to “need”. What about you take a million or two, and/or pledge a small percentage of all your future earnings to this charity to help the kids who idolize you now?”
- Offer any number of options to pledge, recognizing that endowing future money is as big as getting money now. Percentage of your signing bonus? Ok, fine. Small percentage of your salary, or pledge a portion in advance of any incentive clauses? Yep, that works. Endorsement money? You kidding? That’s going to be huge. And let’s not forget when you do this, we the foundation will make sure the WORLD knows you’re helping out. Athletes needing image boosts? I see that. And since we’re going to be appealing across the entire spectrum of sports, and varying levels of income then hey, we don’t need huge money from anyone. Just give what you know you can do without. (Who said that - from each according to their ability, to each according to need? Someone help with that quote please.)
If you think your money is enough and don’t want to spend time on personal visits to schools, or coaching, that’s ok. No guilt here, but if you enjoy that too, then more power to you.
For this to work, it has to be sustainable. An ongoing, visible process of bringing new players in from every sport. Let’s drag the NCAA in while we’re at it - portions of Bowl money, Tournament revenues. Some players in some sports get paid to just show up and play at places - golf and tennis. Promise a small part of your appearance fees, keep your winnings if you like.
Recognizing the ridiculously small number of the kids that will ever see the inside of a major league stadium, or an NHL building without a ticket and a hot dog - that’s why we also provide tutoring and character counseling. AND why we fund even those sports that don’t lead to big league careers. Look at the thousands of college kids getting partial or full scholarships now for playing lacrosse, softball, golf, tennis, volleyball… Maybe some kid will discover she’s a killer volleyball player, and if you have a kid in a non-school volleyball league you know the $$ and commitment that takes, right? So the kids that won’t become Derrick Rose will still get a leg up on scholastic success either through sports or not. So the kids that will never be Albert Pujols can maybe get some financial help for college and reach the majors by getting a front office job in marketing, or become a trainer…
Whatd’ya say, who’s in and ready to start this?