This semester, the University of Dallas baseball team has committed to serving the community with more than a game.
As they prepare for the start of their 2020 campaign, the Crusaders serve with the Special Olympics, the Miracle League, the Readers2Leaders organization, the Catholic Charities of Dallas, and the annual Irving Police/Fire Department’s Blue Christmas event.
Last Saturday, the Crusaders served at the Special Olympics, the first of their community service events. During the bocce ball and softball competition, the Crusaders served as court monitors, helped with the scoreboard, and were able to interact with the participants, according to the UD athletics department. They also helped with the event’s set-up and clean-up.
Head Coach Erik Grafton said that community service allows the team to share the manpower behind the team’s culture.
“We have a platform, we have manpower, and I believe it is the right thing to do,” said Grafton. “We should take advantage of the platform we have and serve our community and help others. We have a saying in our culture, ‘Do the right things, the right way, all the time.’ We believe that service events are doing the right thing.”
Sophomore middle-infielder Joe Vondrachek said that serving the community allows the team to expand the outreach of UD baseball.
“Serving groups like Special Olympics and the Miracle League has given us a way to reach out beyond our daily routine as a team and create a larger impact in the lives of some pretty incredible people,” said Vondrachek.
By serving others together, community service unites the team in a way that translates onto the playing field and the team’s culture.
“I am reminded from watching them encourage one another and carrying positive attitudes to do the same,” said junior outfielder Nick Hovde. “The events enable the team an opportunity to grow in communion with each other, and have impacted the team by allowing us to bond in a way we never have before.”
“I believe our team grows closer together with each event,” said Grafton. “Whenever you work together with others for a greater good, there’s a special bond that is created that can be very powerful. I believe our team becomes selfless and develops a mindset of serving others, which is a great quality to have in life.”
Although the team may benefit from serving others, Grafton says the real focus will always be on the people they serve.
“Honestly, the goal of our service events isn’t to become better baseball players,” said Grafton. “The reason we serve is to use our platform and manpower to help others, and that’s the real focus.”