DALLAS -- High schoolers on the field at the Texas Rangers Youth Academy at Mercy Street Sports Complex, Presented by Toyota, on Tuesday night were there for more than a friendly game of Wiffle ball as part of a Rangers Play Ball event.
Matthew McConaughey was on hand to meet with students who participate in the after-school program that’s a product of a partnership between his just keep livin Foundation and the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation.
“Now is a really important time to make sure you’re working on getting to know yourself,” McConaughey said. “The world’s about to start speeding up and going real fast.”
The award-winning actor stressed to the students the importance of high school as formative years, learning about what they enjoy doing and making wise decisions that will allow them to explore what they want to pursue in life.
“It’s an exciting time in your life. It is. And it’s all right not to know what you want to do. I still have a lot of days where I don’t know what I want to do,” he told the group.
In May 2011, the Rangers Foundation partnered with McConaughey to bring an after-school program centered on encouraging students to improve their physical and mental health to Sam Houston High School in Arlington, Pinkston High School in Dallas and Eastern Hills High School in Fort Worth.
“The Rangers were our first partners that saw what we wanted to do, understood our mission statement, and came on to say, ‘We support your mission, we’re going to help fund it, we’re going to help oversee the operations,’” McConaughey said.
Now a junior, Joshua Anderson has been participating in the program at Sam Houston High School since freshman year. He credits the program with helping him learn about staying grounded and being healthy, and called Tuesday’s activities a highlight of the whole experience.
“I got to meet Matthew McConaughey, ask him some questions,” Anderson said. “I really appreciate the fact that I go to talk to a professional who’s very well versed in his field. It’s very insightful to understand the mindset of a person that’s very successful, because I want to be very successful one day, so understanding that mindset and what that position is, I feel like it’s going to be very helpful in the future.”
The night also marked McConaughey’s first visit to the Rangers Youth Academy, which opened in December 2017.
“This is cool,” McConaughey said of the facility. “Part of the goal of our foundation is to keep kids more active -- exercise level, nutrition goals, community service, gratitude. [The Academy] is now like a playground that helps with all the things that we’re trying to do in our foundation.”
Anderson certainly appreciated the actor’s appearance and the mission of the foundation.
“The fact that he came here shows that he cares. He wants the kids that are part of it to be touched by it and become better because of it,” Anderson said. “It could just be his name, but that’s not why he created the foundation. And you really saw that by him coming here today.”