At Roberts School, Emily Voss, a school programs associate at the Hall, talked with Wilkie. He also stressed the importance of eating a healthy diet and keeping physically fit. “Everyone needs to be fit – not just athletes,” Wilkie said. “When I was young I played every sport I could.” He said that the demands of his job, being a closer,” mean that he often doesn’t get to do his job till around 9:30 at night. “You have to be physically fit to work a schedule like that,” he said. It is a stressful job – one that, according to Wilkie, requires “confidence, fitness and concentration – the same things you need to do well in school.”
When asked by a student how BASE applies to baseball players, Wilkie said, “I try to be a good teammate. We should all treat other people like we want to be treated. When they have a bad day, cheer them up. That’s what good teammates and friends do. You might not be friends with everybody on a team or in school, but if you want to win in sports you have to work together. The same thing applies in school – if you help each other out everybody wins.”
Very few people ever become professional athletes, but the choices that professional athletes make to get there can help youngsters prepare themselves for whatever lies ahead. Collaborations like this one, run by the Hall of Fame, the Chiefs and the SCSD, put a real face on the athletes that students often idolize and emulate, helping students to understand that no matter what phase of life or field of endeavor, people share common challenges to succeed. The dedication and perseverance that athletes need to succeed are the same traits that will help students succeed now and later in life.
For more information on The Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s education programs, visit baseballhall.org/education.