If you'd been in one particular basement in Arlington a little more than an hour ago, you would've stood square in the middle of a fairly strange scene: Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa standing around, cheerful and well-dressed in a light gray suit, a few feet from American League MVP Josh Hamilton, who was taking a few swings off a tee.
Both men were largely ignored by a passel of cameramen, though, whose focus was trained instead on Texas legenduder Matthew McConaughey, as he got a few tips on his curveball from the Rangers' Colby Lewis. (The actor will, after all, also toss out the ceremonial first pitch before tonight's match-up with the New York Yankees.)
Of course, if you'd read Robert's preview of the event Wednesday, all of this made perfect sense: McConaughey's j. k. livin' foundation -- as in, "Just keep livin, L-I-V-I-N" -- announced a partnership with the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation to fund after-school programs in Dallas (at L.G. Pinkston High School), Arlington (Sam Houston High School) and Fort Worth (Diamond Hill-Jarvis High School).
"This is really exciting for us," Hinojosa told Unfair Park after the announcement, while Derek Holland caught pitches from McConaughey in a Rangers batting cage.
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The super said DISD worked with the foundations to bring the program to Pinkston, where an especially dedicated principal, a police officer and a Teach for America teacher helped get the program off the ground, and where the school could most definitely use a healthy living program. "We looked at seminal places where there is a need," Hinojosa said. Oh -- and his favorite McConaughey movie is A Time To Kill, he told us, though he hasn't seen The Lincoln Lawyer yet.
McConaughey, along with Camila Alves -- his partner in life and charitable giving -- founded their group to set up afterschool programs in schools in low-income neighborhoods, focusing on fitness and wellness.
It's easy for students to head in the wrong direction once they've graduated, he said at the press conference, and by then, "your line in life is already gonna be written -- and it may be in the wrong way. So let's catch 'em when they still have the chance to get it right."
Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz also stepped up to contribute to the programs.