Clayton Kershaw: Finding Purpose After The Pitch

Clayton Kershaw has the kind of stuff that makes batters want to cry and call their mommies. His 12-6 hook and mid-90’s fastball are the stuff of legend. As one teammate put it, following a Kershaw gem on three days’ rest in the 2013 playoffs, “This guy’s a different kind of animal.”

Almost that time. #LetsGoDodgers (📸: @jon.soohoo)

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Kershaw’s three Cy Young’s and 2014 MVP showcase part of his story. His career 2.37 ERA is also telling; he sits at the top of the live-ball era, with Whitey Ford coming in second at a distant 2.75. Few could doubt his drive or underestimate his stuff. He is the prototypical ace, the epitome of a competitor. Click here to read up about Jon Lester’s inspiring journey back to the major leagues (http://www.athletecrush.com/baseball/athlete-crush-jon-lester/)

READY. We can’t wait to see #22 on the mound today. #NLCS #LALovesOctober

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His demeanor brings his tale further into focus. He has remained remarkably down to earth and loyal to self since becoming a big leaguer. Even the little things, such as his ancient glove, 2007 Chevy Tahoe, and meticulous workout routine – they stayed right with him for years, despite his fame and wealth. His focus has purely been on results, as a Dodger and as a citizen.

A little pre-game warm up ⚾️ #ITFDB

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The other side to the southpaw is his public outreach, which has taken on a whole life of its own. A Methodist with strong religious affiliations, he makes it a personal mission to empower others to make a positive impact on communities. His passion to lead has seen him establish “Kershaw’s Challenge.” The foundation exists to “encourage people to use whatever God-given passion or talent they have to make a difference and give back to people in need.” Its reach has been considerable in both location and scope.

A native of Dallas, Kershaw carries a soft spot for his hometown. His organization’s 2016 project “Behind Every Door” provided renovations to a South Dallas community center and added after-school programs in the area. Similarly in Los Angeles, where he suits up for the Dodgers, Kershaw has spearheaded “Dream Center,” which last year funded the Transitional Housing Program and Back to School Bash. The community aid, however, doesn’t stop with the domestic and familiar. Kershaw, also in 2016, assisted in the Dominican Republic, helping to fund surgeries and medical programming, and Zambia in Africa, where the organization bought land for a new community school.

All in a year’s work, Kershaw’s 2016 puts the important into perspective. Sure, he racked up one more All-Star award and recorded another ERA under 2. But in comparison, it’s fairly easy to judge where the tangible, long-term differences were really made. As former teammate and catcher AJ Ellis once said about Kershaw, “he’s so much above self.” We couldn’t agree more, and are happy to call him our Athlete CRUSH.

 

Follow Clayton Kershaw & Kershaw’s Challenge on Instagram @kershawschallenge and Twitter @ClaytonKersh22 & @KershsChallenge

Written by Athlete CRUSH Staff

Posted 25 April 2017