U.S. Army Sgt. Robert Berrios recently joined White Sox executive vice president Ken Williams on the Yankee Stadium field to discuss a variety of topics, including the life lessons taught through sports and the importance of bringing minority youths back to baseball.
Berrios, a Combat Medic in the Army reserve who has served in Korea, Iraq and Afghanistan, interviewed Williams during the White Sox road trip to New York. Berrios -- whose civilian job is a paramedic for the New York City Fire Department -- his wife and four boys all met Williams and attended the game.
Williams said he believes young people learn lessons -- about teamwork, competitiveness, leadership and humility -- from sports that help them in the real world as they grow.
"Those kind of things, they teach you certain lessons that carry over into your military life, my professional sports life -- beyond the playing field -- because those same lessons I learned as a youth," Williams said.
Williams interned with the Chicago Bulls marketing department during the offseason when he played for the White Sox early in his career. Instead of traveling or relaxing, Williams said he was focused on what came after his playing career.
Thinking ahead in that manner, he said, is what's most important when it comes to not only trying to get inner-city kids to play baseball, but fall in love with it.
"Professional sports are great, but there's a very small percentage that make it to this level," Williams said. "So I think we're doing a disservice to kids if we're promoting that and not promoting all the other things they can become.
"Because a lot of the problem starts with being in a community where you only see your little small area, and that doesn't provide you with enough vision to have hope of doing other things. And the more you're exposed to that, then your eyes start to open up."
Williams also spoke of the appreciation he has for the military. The White Sox honor veterans before every home game.
"I think all of baseball is doing that. And I think it's important for the same reasons that, you and I, we were here in New York City on 9/11 and we felt that day. We still feel that day," Williams said. "And I think any time you can remind people of people out there risking their lives for your safety, for your security, it's part of our duty."