Hi, I’m Jack Furlong. Many people know me as a professional jazz musician. However, after hours, I moonlight as a junkie dedicated to my other passion: baseball.
Prior to college, I grew up believing I would succeed in achieving my dream of playing professional baseball. I idolized Don Mattingly of the New York Yankees, and I yearned to wear the same pinstripes and be part of the same tradition. An abbreviated collegiate career at Division I Lafayette College made me realize my calling was actually in music, but for good reason: my contribution to the world of sports would be in many other capacities.
Since then, I’ve held many different roles in baseball:
In every single capacity in baseball, I have enjoyed everything this great game has given to me, and I equally enjoy being able to use the game to give back to our society.
Unfortunately, I have seen an equal amount of poor sportsmanship in all of these aspects as well:
All of these behaviors sicken me, regardless of the sport, level, or context.
No matter my allegiances, I have the utmost respect for my opponents and their fans. They, like me, are human beings, and they deserve the same dignity that all humans deserve at all times. Sure, we may have disagreements and healthy debates about whose team is better, but that doesn’t give any reason to taunt, belittle, trash-talk, or berate anybody associated with a competition, whether a participant, coach, official, or spectator.
Furthermore, there is absolutely no place for intimidating or degrading language or, even worse, violence based on sports.
There are stories in the news all too frequently about an umpire or referee who has faced threats or even actual violence because of a close call or a rule interpretation. There are just as many stories about fans that are senselessly beaten or even killed because of their allegiance to a particular team.
Believe me, there are so many great rivalries in sports. But these rivalries are only developed based on their longevity, location, and on-field outcomes.
It doesn't matter the sport/competition, the level, or the importance: I believe that there is no place in life for these acts of aggression. We can cheer for our teams until we are blue in the face, but none of those cheers should be derogatory to other people based on their allegiance to the opponent. And nobody should have to fear for their physical well being or their life because they choose to root for a certain team.
I chose to start this organization to spread that message and, in doing so, provide financial assistance to those who have already been affected by these senseless acts. They should not have to suffer for these ridiculous reasons. I hope that you share these sentiments and will join me in trying to change society’s way of thinking and the precedents set by people who chose to act before they think.
It's real simple: treat other people the way you would wish to be treated. Before you act in any capacity, ask yourself this: is the behavior I'm about to exhibit something that I would like to have happen to me? If the answer is no, then don't do it.