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You can do this too!

Albert Pujols just hit a grand slam --- and baseball season hasn’t even started.

For those who aren’t baseball fans, Pujols is one of the game’s best players --- ever.  In eleven years he has batted .328, hit 445 home runs, and driven in 1,329 runs.  He has been an All-Star nine times, MVP three times, and has two Golden Glove awards.  For all of that, there is apparently something that surpasses his game.

It’s his character.

A person of faith, Pujols has gone on record as saying, “My life’s goal is to bring glory to Jesus,” as well as, “In the Pujols family, God is first.  Everything else is a distant second.”  Toward this end, he has established the Pujols Family Foundation.  The PFF is a non-profit organization that helps a variety of people who have special needs.  In 2008, Pujols was awarded the Roberto Clemente Award.  Clemente was a Hall of Fame right fielder who lost his life in 1972, while on a humanitarian mission to help earthquake victims in Nicaragua.  Of all the awards Pujols has won, the RCA is the one he values above all others.

Given these things, no one should be surprised at what happened recently. And though it may not be surprising, it is certainly worthy of sharing for too often it’s the selfish deed that draws all of the limelight and fanfare.  In the spirit of equal time, this is about someone getting it right. 

Pujols played in St. Louis for his entire career before signing as a free agent with the California Angels during the offseason.  While in St. Louis, he struck up a friendship with 90 year old Stan (The Man) Musial --- an equally outstanding player during his time with the Cardinals.  Out of respect for Musial, Pujols asked the media and fans of St. Louis not to refer to him as El Hombre (the man).  Pujols said it’s “not just what he’s done in baseball but for what he did for his country.”  And now that Pujols’ new team, the Angels, have adopted an El Hombre marketing campaign, he is making the same request of them.
In a profession so often dominated by super-sized egos and narcissistic lifestyles, isn’t there something particularly refreshing about the noble, gracious, and humble nature of Pujols’ request?  Here’s a player who essentially owns the game today and if he wanted to, could surely get away with the outrageous conduct that we often see.  Instead, he shows the ultimate respect for someone of another race and another era. 
I know this is a small thing that can be given more attention that it deserves.  But when someone obeys the unenforceable as Albert Pujols did, it makes the world a little bit better place.  Of even greater importance, it’s says to the rest of us, “You can do this too!”
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