Chargers’ special teams captain Darrell Stuckey spoke at a charity dinner on behalf of Rock Sports and the Hope Leadership Foundation Friday evening.
Stuckey has been recently known for his prowess on the football field, including a diving catch during the win against the Chiefs Thursday night that can only be attributed to his center fielding days.
But Friday night at the Grand Del Mar Hotel, the captain spoke to how important sports were to him growing up.
“It teaches you so many things that life can’t always teach you,” Stuckey said. “Sports gives you that experience that really shows you what’s important in life.”
The Hope Leadership Foundation works with San Diego Unified Schools to provide sports camps and mentoring programs to inner city youth. They've hosted basketball, baseball, and tennis camps, just to name a few.
Stuckey said his involvement in sports is what kept him away from the hard edge of his Kansas City neighborhood.
“My mother kept me in sports,” Stuckey said. “It saved me because I wasn’t exposed to the things that were all around me. And I didn’t know it.”
Many other athletes came out to support this event, including former Padres players Adrian Gonzalez and Heath Bell.
The ‘Clown Prince of Basketball,’ George ‘Meadowlark’ Lemon, was given a lifetime achievement award from Hope Leadership’s Founder Willie Briscoe.
The Grandfather of Basketball had some wise words for the donors.
“What we have in our hearts,” Lemon said. “Sooner or later, it’s going to come out.”
Stuckey spent the dinner at a table surrounded by kids who never lost the stars in their eyes. If it were a classroom, that table would have been the one the teacher was constantly shushing. And Stuckey was right in the middle of it; connecting with the kids he spoke on behalf of.
Stuckey is just one example of professional athletes around the world who are working to use their time in the limelight to benefit those around them.
“For now my purpose is to play a game that captures the audience around me, that captures the minds of the world at one given time," said Stuckey. "At that moment we have your attention, but once I have your attention, what will I do with it? Because of my faith, I do something great with it, I do something positive.”