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McConaughey, Rangers host area students

ARLINGTON -- Oscar-winning actor -- and native Texan -- Matthew McConaughey stopped by Globe Life Park on Monday for an event supporting his after-school program for high school students, and he gushed about the Rangers-Astros division race, which has come down to the final week of the season.

"I'm sure enjoying that we've got a little interstate rivalry going on," McConaughey said. "When Houston came to the American League, that's what I was hoping for."

McConaughey grew up in Longview, in East Texas, and was an Astros fan as a kid, but his allegiance has shifted after four years of partnering with the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation.

"I'm much more of a Ranger fan now," McConaughey said.

McConaughey's just keep livin foundation and the Rangers hosted approximately 60 students from three area high schools with large low-income populations. The program is designed to encourage students to pursue goals in physical fitness, learn proper nutrition on a budget and engage in community service.

"Sort of the overall theme that encircles our whole program is gratitude," he said. "We believe that the more you're thankful for, the more things you will create to be thankful for."

Students from Sam Houston High School in Arlington, Eastern Hills High School in Fort Worth and Pinkston High School in Dallas participated in field-day activities at the Texas Rangers Youth Ballpark near Globe Life Park and spent time with McConaughey, who offered them some motivational words.

"There's a lot of things we've got to do in life that we don't want to do, but if we know we've got to do them, do [them] with pleasure," he said. "We do them because we know it's going to give us green lights later on."

Sitting next to Prince Fielder as he addressed the media after the event, McConaughey said he used the Rangers' leading hitter as an example.

"Seeing that I have two kids myself," Fielder said, "I always want to give other kids the opportunity to make the best choices for health and everything like that just so they have the confidence to be the best they can be."

Asked if he thought the Rangers, who entered Monday with a slim lead over the Astros for the AL West lead, would clinch the title soon, McConaughey said "it looks like it" but that it's too early to say.

"I'm sure Prince is silently agreeing me with right here, he's saying we have a game against one of the best pitchers on the mound, [Justin] Verlander tonight, against the Detroit Tigers," he said. "One in a row. Let's keep adding up your W's, and then let somebody come up and tap y'all on the shoulder and say, 'You're in.' I know that's how I like to approach it when I'm filming. I want someone to come up and tell me on the last day -- 'It's a wrap.'"

Dave Sessions is a contributor to
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