Thursday, September 05, 2002

I have not seen the movie Hardball starring Keanu Reeves as a little league coach in the 'hood, but it is based (somewhat) on a true story. Bob Muzikowski, a wealthy insurance broker and a former alcoholic, came to Christ through the faithful witness of a friend, and soon after finding new life in Christ -- drove by a little league field in the 'hood that was in terrible shape. He reasoned that one way he could love his neighbor as Jesus commanded was to start playing baseball with urban kids. He did just that. By the second year there were 400 kids involved in the new league he had created. This is simply a couple steps further down the road than Barlow's Papa John's on the playground idea. I like the way Muzikowski explains why he, a wealthy white businessman would head to the city to play ball with kids that he has almost nothing in common with:

Jesus didn't say, 'When you've paid someone to do it unto the least of these.' What He said was, 'When YOU have done it unto the least of these, you have done it unto Me.

In an interesting twist, Muzikowski is now suing Paramount for defamation of character because any reference to his Christian faith being the motive and the shaping influence on him and on the league is completely absent from the movie (I'm shocked!!).

You can read more about Muzikowski in Chuck Colson's (or his ghostwriter's) short article in this Breakpoint Commentary. You can also check out Muzikowski's newest endeavor, the Chicago Hope Academy as well as the book, Safe At Home, that he wrote about founding the league in Chicago.

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