R. A. Dickey will climb Mount Kilimanjaro in January as he looks to raise awareness for the Bombay Teen Challenge, an organization that rescues and cares for women and girls in Mumbai who are at risk of being abused and exploited.
“To reach the summit, he will have to ascend to 19,336 feet above sea level, traversing a path that begins in 85-degree heat and ends with the ground covered in snow,” the Wall Street Journal’s Brian Costa explained the other day.
Dickey is documenting the trip in a blog for the New York Times, and wrote this in his first post yesterday:
“In five days, I will travel via Detroit to Amsterdam, finally arriving at Kilimanjaro’s airport. … I continue to believe that the risks of climbing Kilimanjaro are minimal. In fact, it may prove to be less dangerous than the roller coaster and all those loopty loops. I am encouraged to learn that a 7-year-old named Keats Boyd and an 82-year-old man named George Solt both have summited. I feel confident that a 37-year-old knuckleballer stands a fair chance to do the same. Nonetheless, I am still taking the necessary precautions to ensure my safety.”
Dickey’s goal is to raise $100,000 for Bombay Teen Challenge, which is dedicated to putting an end to human trafficking in Mumbai, India, he explains. The money will be able to purchase a health clinic in the heart of the “red-light district,” which, he says, “will allow hundreds of young women who have been trafficked into the brothels to become introduced to Bombay Teen Challenge and, ultimately, have a chance at freedom.”
According to Costa, the Mets recently sent a letter to Dickey’s agent warning him that they reserve the right to void the remaining year on his contract if he is injured on the climb. “They can’t stop him from going, but they clearly would prefer he did not,” said Costa, who quotes Sandy Alderson as essentially saying the same.
Sure, as a Mets fan, I’m concerned about RA Dickey the pitcher. However, as a human being and as a father, I think it’s wonderful that he’s doing what he’s doing to raise money and bring awareness to what is a horrible situation. Yes, from a selfish, baseball stand point, I don’t want him to do this. But, this isn’t about baseball and it’s not about being selfish. It’s about him doing what he believes is important and selfless and I refuse to judge him in a baseball context for that. I can only hope he is safe and that he does what he believes is most right.
To read Dickey’s blog, go here on the New York Times.