Knowing that students, teachers, and administrators saw their 2020’s school plans completely upended by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the Colorado Rockies decided to be proactive behind the scenes to do what they could to provide hope and inspiration during these difficult days.
Several Colorado Rockies players, including Nolan Arenado, Charlie Blackmon, Ian Desmond, Garrett Hampson, Sam Hilliard, and Denver native Kyle Freeland filmed short inspirational messages to not only the graduating seniors who would miss graduation ceremonies but also to the teachers and administrators who were impacted by the sudden end to the school year. Rockies manager Bud Black also participated.
“This wasn’t just about students. It was also about administrators, parents, and teachers,” said Dallas Davis, director of community affairs for the Rockies. “They appreciate it too because everyone is going through some kind of abnormalities and dealing with it in different ways.”
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Davis said the idea came together quickly in the early days of Colorado’s stay-at-home order.
“We got on this pretty early and that has helped,” Davis said. “Once everyone was locked down and we were sitting at home, this is where the community side of what we do really kicks in. When times can get down for people, we want to help.
“Nobody knew where we were going to be, but it was clear there were going to be students who weren’t going to have a typical senior year. We thought, “Let’s talk to the guys and see what we can do to add a little inspiration to a lot of the kids out there.'”
With that in mind, the Rockies reached out to the players about the messaging idea. Davis said it didn’t take long for Black and his players to respond back, ready to help where they could.
While there were some individual requests for messaging fulfilled by the Rockies, the majority of the messages were generalized for an entire class, school, or school district. The Rockies teamed up with the contacts they had already established in many schools to ensure the message had maximum impact.
“Having a guy like Kyle Freeland who is a Denver native made a big impact,” Davis said. “He filmed a message that really hit home to not only the school district, but the city as well.”
Davis told me that the messaging project was similar to how the Rockies have paired with the Denver Public Library to promote literacy while schools were shut down. It’s about players coming together to do what they can to impact the community, even when they’re not on the field.
“It’s awesome when athletes see their platform and what they can do with that, everything from encouraging someone and helping them have a better day to workout videos to where kids at home in their basements are copying these guys,” Davis said. “The realization of the ability these players have to inspire and provide hope in times when we really need it is a beautiful thing about our game.”