Enjoy these family photos from the Kershaw's trip to the All Star Game in Miami last week!
The Kershaw family after the home run derby.
Riding in the parade
Walking the red carpet
Enjoy these family photos from the Kershaw's trip to the All Star Game in Miami last week!
The Kershaw family after the home run derby.
Riding in the parade
Walking the red carpet
Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw is best known for the curveball Vin Scully dubbed “Public Enemy Number One.” But Clayton sees his ability to throw a baseball as just one way he lives out his passion for God. In Arise, he teams up with his wife, Ellen, to share what they have learned about making a difference in the world while living out your God-given dreams.
Enjoy this excerpt from Clayton and Ellen's book, Arise: Live Out Your Faith and Dreams on Whatever Field You Find Yourself
“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”
1 Timothy 4:12
Life is often defined by unexpected moments. Sometimes we feel them coming, but more often than not, they sneak up on us. Other times apparently small, insignificant moments are drawn together to change our lives. You don’t have to live ninety years to feel the weight of these particular moments. Your next moment could be a defining one. I am only 23 years old, but I can already trace certain moments that had a lasting impact. These moments built courage, brought heartache, and taught me humility. They pointed out my youthful pride and stubborn nature. I now see a little bit more how God’s grace was at work in a young kid who had a lot to learn and a determination to beat the odds. One moment in particular still rings in my mind.
I was fourteen years old: a gangly, slightly chubby freshman in high school. After a year of reveling in the supreme reign as the big 8th grade men on the middle school campus my buddies and I were once again the smallest guys during passing period. We were back at the bottom of the totem pole. Everyone else seemed to have found the groove of high school. They were confident and smart, starters on the football, baseball and basketball teams. Upper classmen. We were humbled by a new school, new faces, and most of all, by the new pressure to find a voice among the multitudes. Sure, we knew we had work to do in the classroom. But for my buddies and me, we were particularly interested in making a statement on the field.
Particularly in Texas, football take precedence over just about every sport, even baseball. I was a big kid, so initially it seemed like natural fit for me. Whatever I played, I just wanted to make an impact. Highland Park football has a great winning tradition, and it was a rush to be a part of a team that was so established and legendary. We all felt the need to make a name for ourselves and make others think that we were something. Playing football was a great way to begin high school—going out for the team, grinding through practices with friends, and representing our school during game. Still, nothing captured my heart like baseball.
For the most part, we went into high school with all of our friends from middle school. There were some new faces on the first day of school, but more or less, my eighth grade friends became my classmates at Highland Park High School. I had a tight knit group of guys who had been my best friends since third grade. We did everything together, from sports to carpool to awkward eighth grade dances. We weren’t too interested in girls, but slowly our friend group expanded and we saw the social benefit of getting to know a few of them. In particular, there was one girl that caught my eye. Ellen was funny and seemed comfortable in her own skin. I enjoyed hanging out with her so much that I found myself going to great lengths just to be around her. That’s how I found myself in an optional student leadership class that met for thirteen weeks on Monday evenings. Not really my kind of thing…but then again, Ellen was in it. The administration had recommended underclassmen who showed early signs of leadership. Ellen was a standout. I thought it would be fun to be in there with her.
The class met each Monday night for several hours. We would discuss things like community involvement, service opportunities and leading by example as young high school students. I mastered the art of doodling on the back of my nameplate. One particular Monday, the topic turned to dreams and people of influence. That one class period on that one ordinary Monday night became a defining moment for me. The teacher went around the classroom and asked students to share about their dreams and the people who had been influential in their lives. I heard plenty of well-reasoned responses, aspirations and a list of mentors that any teacher would love to hear. It was finally my turn and the class swiveled in their chairs to hear what I would say. I knew my answer would probably get some critique from the teacher, but I was full of that youthful pride I mentioned earlier. I told everyone that the people of influence in my life were professional athletes. I then confidently declared that my dream was to play baseball professionally.
There were a few chuckles from some friends in the back of the room who all knew where this was going. But I stood my ground, knowing somewhere in my heart that it was a dream worth stating, chasing and even defending. The teacher was gracious in his response, but he got right to the point. He explained to me that goals were certainly important, but that we should always consider the odds. He reminded me of the statistics. High school students have a slim chance of playing college sports and beyond that, college athletes had an even more depressingly slim chance of playing professionally. He didn’t need to touch on the rarity of making it out of the Minor League into the Majors—I was well aware of that statistic as well. A hush fell over the room, and I could tell that my classmates were a little uneasy. I even forgot that Ellen was nearby, listening to each word that came out of my mouth. With a hint of sarcasm, I told the teacher that he had crushed my dream. He could tell that his speech about the odds had left me dejected, so he quickly shifted gears and tried to encourage me. “I do want you to understand the odds, Clayton. They are one in a million. But the important thing is that you see yourself as the one. Don’t think about the million. Visualize yourself being the one who makes it. You are the one. Be the one.”
I smiled and nodded OK. I could have written it off as a lame attempt to salvage my dream, but something actually clicked inside me at that moment. My teacher’s comments inspired my focus on the dream. He hit the nail on the head. Be the one. I started to visualize myself as the one who would make it. Through a teacher in an elective leadership class, the Lord lit a fire underneath me that propelled me towards becoming more of the man He intended me to be.
In his letter to his apprentice Timothy, the apostle Paul gives a powerful charge, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12). What Paul says to Timothy is exactly what I learned that evening in the Leadership 101 class. It doesn’t matter how old you are—anyone can make an impact. Dreams are just dreams until you take a step towards them. Then the dream becomes a goal. Our culture today tells us that all of our goals and motivations should lead towards a better, more comfortable, more successful life for us. We don’t have to listen long to get the message. The world is telling us over and over, “Life is all about you.” And yet I can’t help but stop and ask, “What’s it really all about?” Personal achievements matter, but only to a certain point. I realized in class that day that the odds would not define me. People could question my dream and my drive all day, but in the end, the Lord had a plan for my life. I wanted the Lord to define me. I wanted my life to be all about Him.
As a freshman in high school, I was young and had a lot to learn. I still do. But even as a freshman sitting in a leadership class, I saw the opportunity to set an example. I knew that I loved baseball and that I wanted to play professionally. I also knew that the odds were tough and people would do whatever it took to get there. But the thought of setting an example for others, even as a young person, that was intriguing to me.
I still look back at that moment. I am grateful that it happened and I am grateful for that teacher who spoke a bit of reality into a stubborn 14-year-old. But more than anything, I am grateful to God for the dream that He rooted deep in my heart. I set out at that young age to set an example for those who were watching. I was hoping that Ellen would watch, too. I was anxious to strive beyond personal achievement and to be about something more than just getting ahead in life. It was a lofty dream of an overly confident kid in a freshman leadership class. But I am so thankful for that moment when I dared to believe that, by God’s grace, I could be one in a million.
Join us! Commit to doing something this season. You can join the challenge one of two ways. You can either create your own challenge that is meaningful to you and impacts your community, or you can join Clayton and pledge per strikeout to support this year's projects. When we live for something greater than ourselves, the Lord gets the glory and amazing things can happen. So, do you know what you want to do? If you are going to create your own challenge, we would love from you to tell us about it! Write us or send us a video so we can post YOUR challenge here on our website! We want to encourage you along the way and use your story to inspire others to come along!
To Charley & Cali's dad -
First and foremost, that is who you are. You became a father two and a half years ago, and it has been incredible to witness how naturally you have filled that role.
To Cali and Charley, you are their dad...who happens to play baseball. They don't quite understand what that means, but Cali gleefully points to every bearded baseball player she sees on TV and squeals "dada!" Someday, they may come to appreciate what you get to do for a job, and they may think it's the coolest thing ever...but right now, all you need to do for them to think you hung the moon is be present.
PRESENT. All In. Undistracted. Full attention. Emotionally connected. Right there. What every child truly desires is to have a PRESENT father.
You understand the magnitude of the role you play in their life. You assume the responsibility to be a present father in a generation where, unfortunately, this is not a "given." Kids NEED their dads. Cali needs to understand that she is unconditionally loved by you—no matter what the world may demand of her, society tells her she should be or what she should look like. She will always look to you to feel unconditional love and security. Charley will learn what it looks like to be a man, a leader, a selfless servant, a husband, and a father from YOU. He will watch everything you do, soaking up like a sponge what it looks like to be a man of God. Lead by example, lead with intention, lead with grace. He will watch everything you do—and mimic it. And I'm so thankful it's you he's looking up to.
I know you are not physically present as much as you would like to be during the season, but MAN are you PRESENT in our kids' lives. You are in every crevice of their little world. You are in their joy, in their confidence, in their wisdom, in their playfulness, in their imagination, in their prayers. Even when you are not around, you are around. Because the moments you do get to spend with them make such a lasting impact on WHO they are.
So, Cali & Charley's dad...THANK YOU for being a present dad. Thank you for missing them so much when you go on the road that you cry tears of joy when you see us for the first time after a week away. Thank you for being ALL IN during play time—serving air out of a teapot during tea parties, knowing the name of every single Disney princess, playing dress up and practicing ballet with our Cali. Thank you for waking up in the middle of the night with our babies, and rocking them back to sleep with songs you have made up. Thank you for teaching them to pray—and to love Jesus. And that ultimately, HE is their great Father. You are giving our children a GLIMPSE of His love for us...which is overwhelming for them to think that God could love them even more than you do.
Clayton, this world needs more dads like you. Dads who recognize the privilege it is to be called "dad," and who are committed to being PRESENT in their kids' lives.
On this Father's Day, we celebrate all the dads out there like you. Our world is a better place because of y'all. You are raising a generation of strong, confident women, and wise, selfless men.
We love you, Clayton. We thank God for you being Charley and Cali's dada.
It's time!! Spring is here and it's time for Dodger baseball AND a brand new season of Kershaw's Challenge. This week the Dodgers officially began the 2017 season with a big win over the San Diego Padres 14-3, with Clayton pulling out 8 strikeouts! See some of the day's fun below. And what a beautiful day it was for some baseball too!
As we usher in a brand new season of baseball, let's welcome our 2017 beneficiaries! We feel like the Lord has given us a heart to serve in four different locations around the globe: Dallas, Los Angeles, the Dominican Republic and Zambia. Again in 2017, we are excited to partner with organizations in these locations who are actively making life better for kids. We encourage you to get to know our friends (see websites below). In 2017, every dollar raised will go towards these awesome organizations and specific projects:
Last year we were able to identify and purchase the land for a brand new community school in the N’gombe compound of Lusaka. Now it’s time to begin the funding to build the school! Architects have rendered some incredible plans and we are so excited to watch them come to life.
For more information and updates about the school and projects, visit ariseafrica.org.
It has been such a joy to get to know the people and work of Behind Every Door. They serve in two different areas of South Dallas and this year we are excited to join their work at the Willow Pond apartment complex. Currently, Behind Every Door uses a small apartment to host their gatherings and services at Willow Pond. We’d love to help make their dream for a community center a reality. Our 2017 funds will go towards building a center and equipping it with great after-school programs for the children living in the area.
To see more of what Behind Every Door is doing in the Dallas community, visit behindeverydoor.org.
We believe our highest calling with our friends at CURE is to make life-altering surgeries for children living in the DR. So that’s our focus this year—making it possible for children to receive renewed life through surgeries at CURE. Also this year, we are excited to fund the Clubfoot program at the hospital—a program that treats children born with clubfoot through a series of casting.
To learn more about how CURE is helping children in the Dominican Republic, visit cure.org.
We LOVED being part of the Back to School Bash last year. It is a tangible way that Kershaw’s Challenge can support and equip school-aged kids living in LA. We are excited to sponsor this great event again this year. Additionally, we would love to allocate our funds to the Foster Care Intervention program—giving families everything they need to ensure their children remain in their custody.
Learn more about the vision and work of the Dream Center and how you can also get involved at dreamcenter.org.
So what is Kershaw's Challenge all about?
Kershaw’s Challenge would not exist without YOU. From year to year, our focus remains the same: to make life better for vulnerable and at-risk youth around the globe. It is a lofty goal, impossible without the transforming work of the Lord and the benevolence of others. We are so grateful for our growing team of supporters and hope that you will consider joining us again this year. We live in a world that is desperate to know the hope of the gospel and the kindness and provision from others. With that in mind, we are thrilled to launch another season of Kershaw’s Challenge.
We have some great ways you can get involved in our work and be part of our team. Consider how you can come alongside us in 2017:
Give Per Strikeout
Our Strikeout to Serve campaign is in full swing starting Opening Day. Clayton makes a donation for every strikeout he makes—you can do the same! Visit our website to sign up.
Support or Sponsor
Every dollar counts. Consider giving to Kershaw’s Challenge as a donor or event sponsor! We’d love to tell you about specific opportunities for 2017!
What’s your Challenge?
Create your own challenge—just like Clayton’s personal challenge with strikeouts. And tell us about it on our website!
Grab some gear!
We love seeing our KC gear around town…and around the world! Check out our store for new shirts and hats. Also checked out some official signed memorabilia—all proceeds going to Kershaw’s Challenge.
Attend our events!
We are excited to host our two annual events again this year: PingPong4Purpose in LA on July 27th and Kershaw’s Challenge LIVE in Dallas in November. Attend or sponsor!
We decided that Spring Training shouldn’t just be time to prepare for the upcoming baseball season…our ping-pong skills needed a little dusting off, too! This year, Kershaw’s Challenge hosted the first annual Spring Training PingPong4Purpose event at the Arizona Biltmore. This night was a fun way to kick off a new KC project we are so excited to tell you about. This is a new project born out of a dream.
We love to dream! While we continue to focus our efforts on the projects and beneficiaries of Kershaw’s Challenge, we also want to continue to DREAM about what comes next. Several years ago, Clayton and Ellen had the opportunity to be involved in the building of a handicap accessible baseball field in Los Angeles. They were blown away by the project and the need that it met in the city. Since that time, we have been talking about what it would be like to replicate this project in their hometown of Dallas. There is a lot of work to be done, but our Spring Training event began the process of turning the dream into a reality. And we just can’t get over how fun it was too!
The event kicked off Saturday night, March 4th. It was a night without night games, so a great chance for the MLB teams to compete in something other than baseball. All MLB teams were invited to participate by submitting their own doubles team for the single elimination tournament. Teams were selected very carefully and 16 doubles teams showed up with their game faces on (and their kiddos ready for some face painting and food fun) for a chance to claim victory. As you can imagine, these guys don’t miss a chance for some good ole’ fashioned competition. And plus, the winning stakes were high!
A little over 150 people attended the event, making donations at the door to KC. 50% of the proceeds were to be donated to Kershaw’s Challenge (handicap building project) and the other 50% would be donated to the winner’s choice charity. We were blown away with what the event raised. Just over $14,000 was donated the night-of! Incredible. Clayton and his partner Scott ended up pulling out the big win in the end…as well as Dodger bragging rights until next year’s event.
Needless to say, this night was tons of fun! It was the perfect event for families to gather for fun together as well as move towards making a dream into a reality. Lord willing, this event will continue for years to come, moving us one step closer to bringing baseball to families in Dallas that may never have had the chance otherwise. God is good! And the KC Team really loves ping-pong. Thanks for your love and support as well. We couldn’t do what we do without you!
Kershaw’s Challenge is a Christ-centered, others-focused organization. We exist to encourage people to use whatever God-given passion or talent they have to make a difference and give back to people in need. We want to empower people to use their spheres of influence to positively impact communities and to expand God’s Kingdom. We believe that God can transform at-risk children and neighborhoods through the benevolence and impact of others.