Sports & Recreation

World Series Champion Jacoby Ellsbury participates in group exercises on Saturday, January 11 at Salt River Fields in Scottsdale.

Jacoby Ellsbury Hosts Baseball Clinic for Native Youth

By Sheila Begay
Au-Authm Action News

On Saturday, January 11, the third annual Jacoby Ellsbury Baseball Camp took place at the Salt River Fields in Scottsdale. Ellsbury is of Navajo decent and a registered member of the Colorado River Indian Tribes. The new Yankee centerfielder and Nike N7 ambassador interacted with youth from local native communities, showing them that anything is possible, as long as you put in the hard work and dedication.

This baseball camp was presented by Nike N7 and aims to bring together youth in hopes of inspiring them to realize their potential while also igniting the drive to move themselves and their generation.

Let’s Get this Camp Started
The camp attracted 100 youth from local native communities, 20 of which were Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community members. Each child received a camp t-shirt, an individual photograph with Ellsbury, a Q&A session and 20 children who voluntarily asked questions were given an autographed baseball.

“It’s unbelievable to be out here and see the excitement, enthusiasm and energy. That’s why we do this; to move, to be active and to get you guys out there. I feel very fortunate to have grown up on a reservation when I was a kid and to have sports as an outlet for me to play and to have fun. Motivate each other’s to get out and be active,” said Ellsbury before the camp started.

As Ellsbury addressed the youth and those in attendance he reminded them to always set goals, have big dreams, work hard and do everything you can to fulfill them. Ellsbury added, “Remember to get good grades, listen to your teachers and go to college. Anything you guys want to be, whether it’s a teacher or a firefighter, anything you want to be, you guys can do it. Follow your dreams and work hard.”

After remarks by Ellsbury, the camp kicked-off and all of the children broke into different stations such as parachute exercises, ladder exercises, a batting cage and different warm-up techniques and exercises. Ellsbury was very interactive with the youth as he helped them to become better players. The children were very excited as Jacoby showered them with his attention.

Chasing Dreams at a Young Age
As a young kid, Ellsbury dreamt big. Little did he know that at age two, he was paving the road to one of his biggest accomplishments. “It all started when my father built a T-[ball stand]. I would hit off of the T-[ball stand] with my three brothers. We would get the ball and hit it again. [As time passed] I got the motivation to succeed and do better. I always had fun doing it [as a child] and I still have fun, even while working,” said Ellsbury.

His parents Jim and Margie; three brothers, Matt, Tyler and Spencer and Wife Kelsey have all been his biggest supporters. “My immediate family [have always been my biggest supporters], it’s hard to name just one person,” said Ellsbury.
Ellsbury was born and raised in Madras, Oregon. He attended Madras High School where he was a natural athlete, receiving letterman’s in baseball, football and basketball. After high school, he went to Oregon State University and in 2005, was drafted by the Boston Red Sox. In December 2013, Ellsbury signed a seven year, $153 million deal with the New York Yankees.

“I had a lot of great memories playing seven years with Boston, and it’s extremely tough to play at one place for an extended period or for your whole career. New York is a great place to play. The Yankees really wanted me and I am definitely excited to be playing with them. Hopefully I’ll play for 15 years,” said Ellsbury.

Opening Doors for Native Athletes
At 30, Ellsbury has accomplished more than the average person, yet this is still the beginning of what he has yet to accomplish. Some of his past accomplishments include two World Series Champions, American League Rookie of the Month, MLB Stolen Base Leader, American League Comeback Player of the Year and first member of the Red Sox’s 30-30 club.

“The first World Series was an unbelievable feeling and to win it for a second time was rewarding because you know how hard it is to get there and how many things have to go right for you to win it all. I feel very fortunate to have won it my first year and to win it my last year, it was unbelievable and something I’ll never forget,” said Ellsbury.

Being in MLB or even being a celebrity, you would think the embarrassing moments don’t happen. Truth is, we all have them. When asked what his most embarrassing athletic moment was, Ellsbury laughed as he said, “My first hit bat ever. When I got called up I swung and hit the ball and the ball went like two inches and I got tagged out at home plate. That was pretty embarrassing, because it never happened before and it hasn’t happened since then. I ended up getting a base hit with my next bat. That taught me to come back stronger.”

Giving back to Native Communities
“Being involved with Nike N7 means the world to me, I’m blessed to be in the position I’m in and have the success I have. Giving back to the youth is what it’s all about and maybe one day when you’re in a position I’m in, you’ll be having a camp yourself. That’s what it’s all about. This camp motivates me too; it fuels my fire and gets me to work harder.”

As children took pictures with Ellsbury, they also had the chance to tell him about their experiences at the camp. Ellsbury showed appreciation for feedback and also enjoyed all the positive feedback as the children made it known they looked up to him.

Aside from being a Nike N7 ambassador, Ellsbury also donates to other charities and plans to make more appearances within the native communities.

“It’s great for the kids. I know they really enjoy it and look forward to it. With me talking to them before the camp, after the camp and during the pictures they said they had a good time. Some of these kids have been here twice; they came last year and they had a good time. They were fortunate to be able to come again and it’s rewarding for me that they enjoy it so much. Hopefully every year it can continue to grow, expand and we’ll make it bigger and better each year,” said Ellsbury.

For more information about Nike N7 visit http://n7fund.com/.

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