The MLB All-Star Game features baseball’s biggest stars on one field competing against one another for home field advantage in the World Series. Although these players are stars now and make their talents on the field look effortless, many of them have had to handle adversity to make it to where they are now. Among this year’s players, for example, are Jose Altuve and Anthony Rizzo. Jose Altuve is the American League starting second baseman from the Houston Astros. Anthony Rizzo is the National League starting first baseman from the Chicago Cubs. Both of these players have had a hard road to being the best at their position, but in different ways.
Jose Altuve is the shortest player in the MLB, measuring in at 5-foot-6. Altuve has always had great skill as a baseball player but was continuously passed up by scouts because of his size. The Astros eventually gave him a chance and signed him as an undrafted free agent out of Venezuela in 2007. Altuve played his first major league game on July 19th, 2011. Since then, he has been a 4-time All-Star and won the batting title in 2014 with a .341 average.
Anthony Rizzo was blessed with size and strength from an early age. He was drafted out of high school by the Boston Red Sox in 2007. He eventually ended up with the Chicago Cubs in 2012. It was in Chicago in 2013 where Rizzo began to make a name for himself in the big leagues. What is amazing about Rizzo’s early success is that he had to overcome cancer. In 2008 he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Rizzo went through six months of chemotherapy before being told that he could live a normal life again. This is the third consecutive year that Rizzo has made the All-Star roster.
These two All-Stars are great examples of why it is important to never give up. Children can easily become discouraged when they meet adversity in their lives. It is important as a mentor to be there for children when they start to struggle trying to reach their goals (in sports and in life) and to show them how others have been able to persevere and demonstrate commitment. It helps to know stories like Altuve’s and Rizzo’s to use as examples of both qualities, although there are many others in sports and in our communities. Share your own story! Encourage children to think about different role models for their lives and what they can learn from each of them.