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Crowson: League 42 Is Impacting Lives In Wichita


“Life is not a spectator sport. If you’re going to spend your whole life in the grandstand just watching what goes on, in my opinion you’re wasting your life.”

That is a quote from the great Jackie Robinson, who broke the Major League Baseball color line, wearing number 42 for the Dodgers.

Here in Wichita, I know a guy who took Robinson’s quote seriously. He hopped out of the grandstand and clambered onto life’s field. On his way to the diamond, he enlisted about 600 kids from the heart of Wichita.

Retired former Wichita Eagle sports writer and radio host Bob Lutz, for all practical purposes, ought to be sitting in a rocking chair with his dog on his lap, a Cardinal baseball cap on his head and an old Eagles cd blasting away through his headphones.

Instead, Lutz created League 42. It’s a nonprofit baseball organization for Wichita kids between 5 and 14 years old. He realized these kids, many from our inner city, had little chance to play baseball. So he outfits them with uniforms and equipment and, along with many volunteers, stresses sportsmanship and academics to them. League 42 keeps growing. Businessman David Murfin is enabling them to use a building across from McAdams Park for indoor baseball training and help with their school work.

Another quote from Jackie Robinson: “A life is not important except for the impact it has on other lives.”

Bob Lutz’s League 42 is impacting young lives, and all of Wichita.

Richard Crowson is not only a editorial commentator for KMUW. He's also a cartoonist, an artist and a banjo player.