My plan for healthy relationships

This week we’re sharing a guest column from Henson Burk Fawcett that was also recently published in Sound Publishing community newspapers.

I am a six-grade Rainier Valley Little League baseball player and an aspiring sports journalist. I am interested in how sports shape people’s lives.

Kids look up to athletes. It’s not news. Everyone knows kids have idolized sports figures for generations. We memorize stats, and trade cards. Kids copy elite athletes. We practice their game day rituals—like pre-game dances, warm up traditions, a certain swing—just to be like the people we adore.

So what happens when athletes commit domestic violence? Does it tell a kid that hurting someone close to you is no big deal? Even okay?

Major League Baseball noticed that the sports world is failing to send the message to athletes and fans that family violence is unacceptable, and they want to do better. The MLB has established a new rule that says if you hurt your girlfriend, partner, or child, it will hurt your career. Recently, a MLB player was suspended for 30 games. It’s a big penalty, taking away 1/5 of a season. And it sends a big message to the players and to the kids too.

Watching sports the past couple years has shown us that being good at your relationships takes as much practice as being good at your game. When the MLB refuses to let any excuses go by, they give all of us a reason to start practicing to do our best on and off the field.

This year for my Bar Mitzvah project, I am talking to over 300 youth about healthy relationships. I am also asking kids to take a stand for positive relationships by running the Goodwill Refuse to Abuse 5K inside Safeco Field. It is a one-of-a-kind 5K through the ball park. I hope you join me at the 5K!

To find the domestic violence program in your community, visit wscadv.org or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY).

To raise money and awareness for domestic violence prevention, register today for the Goodwill Refuse To Abuse® 5K at Safeco Field at refusetoabuse5k.org.

My oh my!

In the words of Seattle Mariners late broadcaster, Dave Niehaus, “I DON’T BELIEVE IT!”

I don’t believe it. That statement is alive and well right now. From the mundane (the color of my son’s hair―spoiler alert: brown dyed blonde turned orange) to the amazing (have you noticed that our Mariners AND the Chicago Cubs sit atop their respective divisions?) to the state of the union (hey, this is my country too!). It’s a lot to take in, and nearly impossible to make sense of.

I’m in the business of sense-making. I prefer to observe and listen and think before I proclaim my sense of any given situation or issue. And the truth is that, while people often expect me to come forth with a radical sense, where I almost always land is in the realm of common sense. I’m a linear, practical gal, and there is way too much going on―in this time, in this country―that violates common sense.

I can live with my son’s orange hair, because it is attached deep down to his good heart. And this really could be the year of a Mariners-Cubs World Series. I can definitely live with that. But what of the state of our union? The volatility, extremism, political machinations, and hate? These are hard for me because they don’t make sense.

2016 is an important year. We need all eyes on North Carolina, all ears in electoral and ballot debates, and all hands on deck. We must emerge with a common sense. That’s all I ask.

For my son and all children:

For my Mariners and all fans:

For my people and our world:

 

 

 

News you can relate to

Some news stories that caught our eye this week:

Mo’ne Davis, Little League superstar, graciously signed balls in the L.A. Dogers dugout. Go, Mo’ne!

Who’s got the time to make a complete list of rules for women? This guy is asking for one.

You know the people who say stuff like “I’m not racist, but…”? There’s a new drink just for them.

Faith in humanity: restored

I don’t know about you, but the past couple of weeks have put me through the wringer. Bad news and disappointments just keep coming. ENOUGH, I say. I saw this set of pictures posted on a friend’s Facebook wall, and though it’s not the kind of thing I often click on, I did. And it did indeed, even if only momentarily, “restore my faith in humanity.” However silly it may seem, I needed that random collection of photos to remind me that there is still a lot of good in the world and there are good people out there working to make things better.

team-kateCase in point: last weekend WSCADV hosted our second annual Refuse To Abuse® 5K at Safeco Field. It’s always a good time. Now, I know fun is not exactly the first thing that comes to mind when people gather together for a cause as, well, depressing, as domestic violence. (Hey, I’m just saying what everyone else is thinking). However, FUN is exactly what we were having. The baseball fans who just wanted to experience running through Safeco Field, but maybe learned a little about healthy relationships along the way, had fun. The teams who turned out because they survived a personal tragedy involving domestic violence had smiles on their faces and brought joy to the event. More than a thousand people came together that summer evening to share time, space, stories, and hope. My coworker’s partner came begrudgingly , but left with a completely new perspective. He said that he thought he understood everything he needed to know about domestic violence, but seeing the huge crowd and so many everyday people who have been personally impacted by domestic violence was a light bulb moment for him.

You know what I saw in the faces of runners, spectators, and volunteers? Hope. I saw the incredible potential we have when we come together to create peaceful, loving communities. We’ve still got plenty of work to do, (which is painfully apparent as I write this at my desk). But it’s events like these that refuel us.

Baseball season is almost here!

I would like to propose a toast.

Please raise your double mocha cappuccino latte delight to

our

very

own

Seattle Mariners!!!!!

Wait, wait, wait.

Even if you are not a baseball fan, hold onto your cup.

The Mariners are doing something that no other professional men’s team in America is doing. Taking on men’s violence against women. For years now the team has supported Refuse To Abuse™ with powerful messages about respect for women.

If we are serious about ending violence, then we can’t hope for a better platform to preach from than professional sports. Think about it. All those high-profile men who have harmed women. Even if you have never watched a sporting event in your life, you can name these infamous guys. Basketball, boxing, football… oh yes, and baseball.

Even as the Mariners call for respect for women, their roster includes Josh Lueke and Milton Bradley. They stammer through press statements about employing these men. The public and the media raise a stink. This, my friends, is progress!

But here’s even more good news: after the Lueke uproar, the Mariners could have walked away from Refuse To Abuse™ and gone back to ignoring violence against women like other teams do. But they didn’t. They are staying committed and working to figure out how to do this right. That’s integrity.

Lovers of baseball, let the Mariners know you appreciate their commitment to Refuse To Abuse™. If you are a fan of another team, get up off your couch and let your team know you want something as good as what we have going on here in Seattle.

Thank you Mariners. I am so proud of you. Now, get out there and play this great game well.

Cheers!

Our summer of discontent

We are pleased to bring you a post from our first guest blogger – Nan Stoops, our executive director.

I am a baseball fan. I love the game. I watch, I play, I coach.

My mother followed the Red Sox and raised me on the Cubs. Her mantra was “suffering builds character.” I never really understood it, but I knew better than to question her about baseball.

We partner with the Seattle Mariners on the Refuse To Abuse™ violence prevention campaign. For 13 years, the Mariners have been the only MLB team to focus on violence against women. Make no mistake, I am proud of this effort.

But 2010 has been rough. The Mariners made a remarkably fast exit from playoff contention. And then came the trade that brought us Josh Leuke – a minor league pitcher who had been charged with rape.

In dealing with the public reaction to this trade, the Mariners are experiencing what we have always known: doing the right thing is complicated. Especially during a losing season when fans are restless and unhappy. People ask me why we continue to partner with them. Here’s why.

With Refuse To Abuse™, the Mariners agree to be held to a high standard. We applaud that. We expect them to “walk the talk” and we know they will stumble. After all, learning and changing is a slow, painful process.

Justice requires 3 things: truth-telling, accountability, and restoration.  We expect that from everyone we work with. Including the Mariners.

For my home team, the degree to which “suffering builds character” remains to be seen. But the other thing my mother always said was, “quit while you’re ahead.” On the justice-front, we’re not ahead yet. So, in work and in baseball, I plan to keep showing up – until the pennant belongs to us.