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From K to Z: Kershaw in Zambia

I'm sure many of us want to believe that the players who we root for, that we spend so much time, energy, and emotion debating their on-field merits, are actually good people. Or perhaps that there are other things that are more important than who won or lost, or if they went 3 for 4, or if they had eight strikeouts. At the very least, we want them to care, if even a little, about other people. If we find that they do, it makes us root a little harder for them.

Andre Ethier serving food at the LA Union Rescue Mission. Hiroki Kuroda donating $100,000 to cancer research. Former Dodger (funny just writing that) Russell Martin supporting the One Drop Foundation to fight poverty by providing access to clean water. Going 0 for 4 goes down a little bit better knowing that they have a reserve of good karma that may be unleashed in their next game.

Add Clayton Kershaw to that list. The current Ace of the pitching staff, just coming off his December wedding, is currently in the African nation of Zambia in support of his wife Ellen's involvement with Arise Africa (covered in Ken Gurnick's article on MLB.com). More than just a simple Christian mission trip, according to their website Arise Africa aims to empower Zambians through such strategies as microfinance loans, nutrition programs, providing access to education, AIDS education, and job skills building.

I'm sure there are some fans who care more about the chances of him hurting his arm as he tries to teach a bunch of the school children a game they have never seen. I'm sure there are those who are cynical of motives and reasons for being there. He doesn't have to be there. He could have just driven his wife to the airport. However, the fact is that Kershaw, a 22 year old kid, decided to spend his new year halfway around the globe in one of the world's poorest regions trying to make a positive impact in the lives of people who he does not yet know and who know nothing about him. I'm quite happy that he is on our team, and this only reinforces my belief that he's going to do special things, on and off the field. If anything, he'll be bringing a ton of good karma to the Dodgers' upcoming season.

There's a daily blog that Arise Africa posts: http://ariseafricanow.blogspot.com/

In some of the recent posts, there are some anecdotes about Clayton and his wife Ellen, getting the area pitching-ready to teach the kids, and the team's mission. Check back to see how his baseball clinic goes.

This is a fan-written post that is in no way affiliated with or related to any of the authors or editors of True Blue LA. The opinions reflected in this post do not necessarily reflect those of True Blue LA, its authors or editors.

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