A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to sit down and interview Joe Haden, a cornerback who plays for the Cleveland Browns. Haden was in Newport Beach, California, to attend a charity event hosted by the Foundation for the Undefeated to raise money for the Special Olympics. The Undefeated Foundation funds organizations that work to help the “underdog” and was established by NFL alumnus Paul Salata in 1976 to celebrate the last player to be selected in the NFL Draft, also known as Mr. Irrelevant.
Haden attended the event to lend his support to the Foundation and the Special Olympics. Both causes are close to his heart. He grew up with a brother with special needs and Joe and his family always included his brother in their love of sports.
One of the advantages living close to Fenway Park (arguably one of the best baseball parks in the Major Leagues) is that I get to go to a lot of games. So far, the Red Sox have only played six games at home this this season, and I’ve been to two of them – not bad for a 10-year old, right? At one of the games, I got to see one of my favorite players, Daniel Nava, make a nice catch in right field about 10 feet away from me. I love watching Nava play. He always puts in 100 percent effort. Even if the Red Sox are losing 20-1, he still goes out there and plays like they could win. He plays well, is incredibly committed and has a great attitude.
I think Nava has been one of the great Red Sox stories of the past few years. In 2010, on his very first pitch in the MLB, he hit a grand slam. In his very first game at Fenway Park after the Boston Marathon Bombings last season, he hit a walk–off three run homer.
But before Nava was a big league slugger, he was an undersized kid who faced a lot of personal adversity. Wondering how in the world this happened?
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