Over the years professional sports leagues such as the NBA, NFL, and MLB has done its best to spread the word about supporting the military. Different teams in the MLB and NBA will wear alternate jerseys on special occasions to represent the armed forces. Sometimes teams would honor active or retired military members during games.
Operation Hawkeye’s Strike Force campaign is trying to do the same thing, but it is focused on supporting the armed forces and their families through high school and college baseball.
“We hope it helps raise awareness of the sacrifices being made by our special operations warriors and their loved ones,” Gonzaga College High School senior Will Thomas said in a press release. “The program provides interested high school, college, and travel teams, including coaches, players, families, and fans, with an impactful way to honor that sacrifice and support the children and families of the fallen through the sport of baseball.”
Thomas launched the entire Operation Hawkeye program in 2011 when he was 12 years old. The program partnered with Special Operation Warriors Foundation, Pledge It, and the American Baseball Coaches Association to support the military’s special operation units and their families. Thomas and his family never had a military background, but he was driven by the sacrifices the military have made on a daily basis.
“We’re not a military family and I didn’t have a bunch of exposure to the military or anything,” Thomas told Baseball America. “But obviously everyone should have a general respect for the military just because of the knowledge of what they do.”
The Strike Force program has three elements in its goal to raise money for the Special Operation Warriors Foundation. The first element is the program’s high school competition called “Runs for Warriors,” where teams can leverage runs it scores during games the month of April. Teams will raise money to compete for a prize that will be handed out in May. Schools must raise $1,000 in order to be eligible for a prize.
So far, Strike Force has seen support from Bishop Ireton, Landon School, Potomac School, and Madison. DeMatha’s baseball Head Coach Sean O’Connor is looking at Strike Force for his CrabFest travel program, possibly using runs, hits, home runs, or strikeouts to raise money for the cause.
High School teams that are interested in supporting the Strike Force campaign, should check out the programs website to learn more about how the get involved.