by Sammy Sosa with Marcos Bretón
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My mother always taught me that it doesnt cost anything to be kind to people, to be generous with your heart. And really, by spending time this way, I get as much as I give. After each workout, I feel good and love to stop and talk with people. One by one they approach me, men and women bringing their children, all standing close to me for a picture. There are old friends, too, who knew me when I was young and who talk about old times and laugh with me. Yes, I posed for a lot of pictures this past winter.
Those moments fill me with satisfaction because I still view myself as I always haveas a human being, no better or no worse than anyone else. Its because of these feelings and these beliefs that I think people have been drawn to me.
But what I am today I am because of mother. I treat people well because thats what she taught me. I work hard and do my best because I saw her give her all every day of her life, and she didnt get paid millions of dollars to do it. And Im grateful for all that I have because in this life everything ends except Godso you should be humble and grateful. I am.
Its been said that athletes have grown distant from the fans because of all the money they make. In my own small way, Id like to think Im proving that it doesnt always have to be that way.
Soon, its time to go home. By the time we get back on the road, Im dripping sweat, though my workouts dont end there. Like a lot of ballplayers, Im a night owlI stay up late and get up late. And a lot of times, as late as 1:00 or 2:00 a.m., Ill work out in my home gym, getting my body prepared for the rigors of a 162-game season.
As the season approached in 2000, my workouts became more grueling, my concentration more focused. Im not going to predict 60 home runs or anything of that kind for this season, but I do expect a lot of myself right nowat thirty-one, Im in my prime. As Im driven back to Santo Domingo, I spend much of my time dealing with the hectic schedule brought on by many commitments.
Chief among them is my commitment to my country, a responsibility I take very seriously. Ive made commercials praising the Dominican Republic for its beauty as a tourist destination. I established a foundation that benefits needy Dominican familiesa twenty-four-hour job, because there is much need in my country. I have another foundation in my adopted country, the United States. Its the least I could do because America has been so good to me through the years. I mean, how many people get to meet the president of the United States, get to light the national Christmas tree at the White House, and then get singled out at a State of the Union address? Its amazing to me to think about it, but Ive gotten to do all those things. So make no mistake, I love America.
The light of my life is my wife and my four children, who depend on me to be husband and father. When I get home, they are all waiting for me, along with my five brothers and sisters, who come and go through my house as if it were their own. Thats the way we were always taught by my mother, to love one another and share with one another. That I can help them all today to live better lives is one of the joys in my life. All that love is waiting for me as I turn down the avenue that leads back to my home.
There was once a time when I couldnt even afford to buy myself a bus ticket from San Pedro to Santo Domingo, and now I ride back and forth between the two homesthe two extremes in my lifeas if I were a king. Its been a long journey to get to where I am today. I always thought I would get here, I just didnt know how. The journey isnt over, of course. There is still a long way to go. But sometimes I cant believe where I am now, so far from San Pedro, from the place where I started, at a time when everyone knew me as Mikey.
Copyright © 2000 by Sammy Sosa. Excerpted courtesy of Time Warner Trade Publishing.