It seems like I usually use this forum to bitch and moan about sports. So today I thought I would do something a little different. The Houston Aeros are being honored by the City and by the Anti-Defamation League this afternoon at City Hall, and I just thought I would use this space to honor them as well.
The team's being honored, along with 39 other Houston-area organizations, for participating in the Anti-Defamation League's Community of Respect Initiative. And they're the only Houston-area sports team being so honored.
To achieve the honor, the team had to submit a form of intent, create a diversity coalition and/or appoint a person to oversee the implementation of the Initiative, sign the Resolution of Respect pledge or create one of their own, implement at least three anti-bias/diversity activities, and document the completion of those activities and send that documentation to the ADL for approval.
During the season, one of the team's players, defenseman Brandon Rogers, was honored by the AHL as the Humanitarian of the Year. The team told me that they nominated Rogers for the award because he made the extra effort to visit hospitals and do charity deeds, often without being asked.
Rogers, like his teammates -- whom I've also been told are great about doing charity works -- doesn't see this humanitarian outreach as a duty. It's just something he does.
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"I get a lot of enjoyment out of it," Rogers said at the time he was nominated for the award. "It's a good opportunity for us to meet some people, some kids, people of all ages, really, that are in some unfortunate situations. It really puts things in perspective. For us to take some time out of our day to put a smile on a face or to help out any way we can is the least that we can do in the position that we're in."
And Rogers has an attitude that most of the team seemed to exhibit during the season when it came to fan interaction. "It's really not too much to ask for anyone to do it," he says.
Now I'm not sure what the Aeros did for Community of Response Initiative. Which, actually, isn't that much of surprise. Unlike some of the other sports teams in the city, the Aeros don't go out of their way to advertise and promote the charitable deeds they do in the city. The organization thinks that actually doing something is more important than bragging about doing something. Just like Rogers doesn't think it's anything special to go visit kids in the hospital.
Tomorrow I'll return to my standard complaining and whining. But today, it's about the positive. So congratulations Aeros.