Susan and I had an unbelievable trip to Chicago right after the All Star Game to see the Royals play the White Sox and meet Bo Jackson, arguably the best athlete ever in any sport. The trip was part of a charitable auction. We were the high bidder for a trip to Chicago and a pregame field experience before the Royals-Sox baseball game. The money went to a great cause, Dayton Moore’s C You in the Major Leagues foundation.
Right from the start Bo and I shook hands and Susan extended hers but Bo was not having any of that, only a big smile from him and a warm hug was going to do. We sat and talked about family, fishing, hunting and business. The conversation was easy and it was as if we had been friends for a long time. We spent 20 minutes sitting in the Royals dugout before the game with Bo. What a class gentleman!
If you’re of a certain age, you can easily recall Bo driving tape-measure home runs over the wall at the Royals Kauffman Stadium. Or you might also recall Bo evading would-be tacklers while playing for Auburn University and the Oakland Raiders. If you’re a bit younger than that you should know Bo for what he has done after his career as a professional athlete came to a premature end after injuring his hip in 1990 while playing running back for the Raiders.
First, Bo completed his Bachelor of Science degree in Family and Child Development at Auburn to fulfill the promise he made to his mother. Today Bo resides in Chicago with his wife and has three young adult children. He runs two charities, the Give Me A Chance Foundation and Bo Bikes Bama.
The Give Me A Chance Foundation’s mission is to inspire deserving youth to become involved in sports by providing an opportunity to train at an elite level while emphasizing a strong commitment to education. With Bo Bikes Bama, he hopes to inspire Alabamians and people across the country to lend their neighbors a helping hand. Money raised by Bo Bikes Bama goes to support the Governor’s Emergency Relief Fund, specifically providing funds for the construction of community storm shelters across the state.
One more thing, Bo is also an entrepreneur. He is part-owner and director of the Burr Ridge Bank & Trust, President of Bo Jackson Enterprises and CEO of Bo Jackson Elite Sports. BO played baseball and football with incredible talent, humbleness and class. For the legend he is, Susan and I found him to be one of the most genuine and authentic persons we have met.
Mr. Jackson has been as successful in his personal life and business as he was during his career in sports. The take-away Susan and I learned was that honesty and character do carry forward in every aspect of a person’s life. You can get up every day and choose to live your life by the Golden Rule, treat others as you want to be treated or not, it’s a simple choice. It would have been easy for Bo to just give us a quick hello and move on from our meeting (after all Susan and I are no celebrities), but that’s not what a person of character does.
To conclude, I say “Thank you Dayton Moore, the Kansas City Royals, Jeff Davenport of the Royals and especially Mr. Bo Jackson. It was an honor to meet you. Thanks for being a great example for us to follow.