SPANISH HARLEM – When I found out about Kobe Bryant, I was shocked. It scared me to think that you could be here one minute and the next you’re gone. It also got me thinking about other sports tragedies and today I will share with you a story that impacted my life.
Roberto Clemente is possibly the most beloved player in the Latin community. His abilities and generosity were second to none. He is the first Latin player inducted into the Hall of Fame and was a role model to many people growing up at that time. His death on December 31st, 1972 impacted many because he was on his way to Central America to provide food and supplies after Nicaragua was hit with a devastating earthquake. The plane he was on crashed before he could ever get there.
I know some of you may read this and say, “Wait Buddy, you weren’t even born when this happened.” That is true but it still impacted me as a person and it was hard not to feel the sadness that came with his death. It all started with someone named Julio Gotay.
At the time, my uncle Luis from Puerto Rico knew I loved baseball and he would always take me to the park to play. He was the only person I knew in my family that loved baseball just as much as me. So one day he tells me that there is a guy he knows who lives on my grandmother’s street that played baseball with Clemente. My uncle wanted me to know more about the legend and so he introduced me to Mr. Gotay.
I want to thank Mr. Gotay, who passed away in 2008, because he took the time to speak with me and answer any questions I had. It was an out of body experience. I was in the presence of someone who knew the guy personally and also played along side him with the Pirates. We talked for about an hour or two. He showed me a bat that Clemente used and he actually let me hold it. I learned so much about Clemente and all the stories I had heard about him were very similar to stories I had read before. Clemente was a great Slot Online player but he was a better person. He loved the Latin community and was always there to lend a hand if anybody need help or had questions; that went for people and players.
It was an amazing experience and one that I will never forget but it was hard not leaving Mr. Gotay without feeling sad. Clemente was a great man and he didn’t deserve to die. People like him should live forever. This world needs more people like Clemente, not less, and when you realize that, it makes you want to be better a person. I was honored that Mr. Gotay took some time out of his day to speak with me about Clemente and you could tell that he was sad too but he was also happy to share his experience with me. Thanks to my uncle and Julio Gotay, I had one of the best moments in life.