By Howard Goldin
An ankle injury may keep Derek Jeter out of the starting lineup for the Yankees on Opening Day of the 2012 baseball season, but it did not prevent him from providing happiness to hundreds of New York City children during the 2012 holiday season.
Jeter’s Turn Two Foundation was founded at the close of his first season with the Yankees. At Yankee Stadium, Jeter said of its beginning, “It began at the end of my rookie season at a dinner with my father and me. We really didn’t know what to expect when we started the foundation. Now in its 16th year, the foundation has already raised more than $16 million and impacted the lives of thousands of young people.
The latest event, an annual occurrence, is the Holiday Express. This year’s extravaganza for youngsters was a party held at Yankee Stadium. Approximately 500 children were invited to the historic Bronx landmark to have a good time. The children expected to have fun, but were not told in advance that Jeter would be present at the party. Immediately prior to the close of the evening’s festivities, each child stood on line to meet Santa and receive a gift bag. Their surprise was apparent as they saw Jeter seated next to Santa as part of the greeting party. Jeter’s sister, Sharlee, the president of the foundation since 2010, was also the event.
Jeter, always ready with a quip, joked about the effect of his presence upon the children, “We get the opportunity to give gifts, which they all look forward to, I really don’t think they look forward to seeing me any more-it’s Santa and the elves and all the gifts.”
In a more serious vein, Jeter expressed his feelings about the holiday event, “This event for the foundation, for our family, is probably the one we look forward to most. Any time you’re talking about the holiday season and have the opportunity to give back and meet a lot of kids, 500-600- kids, you want them to have fun. Everyone should feel special during the holiday season…It’s very difficult [to be as involved] during the season. It’s the most fun I have with the foundation.”
The foundation does not exist solely to provide fun and games, but rather has a very meaningful purpose. Its own website, www.turn2foundation.org, best expresses the rationale for the foundation, “[It] strives to create outlets for children to achieve academic excellence, develop leadership skills and remain drug and alcohol free. These programs all share the same goal of helping today’s youth to become the leaders of tomorrow.”
The next fundraiser for Turn2 is the 10th Annual Derek Jeter Celebrity Golf Classic, which will be held in Tampa, Florida from January 16-18. Any further information can be foiund on the foundation website, listed above.
2013 baseball season-Questions were also asked of the Yankee captain regarding his ankle injury and next year’s club. He reflected upon the injury and his expectation to be in the Opening Day lineup, “I just couldn’t get up. I knew my season was over. I guess I just pushed it a little too much. The bottom line is I chose to play on it (previously injured ankle). It was my decision. I wouldn’t change anything. I’ve been walking with this boot (on his left foot) for about a week. We have quite some time until Opening Day. There is no reason why I can’t be ready on Opening day.”
Of the recent departures of teammates Martin and Chavez, Jeter commented, “You don’t like to see anyone go, but you just have to deal with it. I really don’t know what’s going to happen. I just go to Spring training and look at the name tags.”
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