Orioles player talks to Newark students
A big fan of the Baltimore Orioles, Marlon Sparks said he was speechless when he found out earlier this month that he would get a chance to talk to O’s slugger Adam Jones.
“It was really cool,” the Jennie E. Smith Elementary School fifth-grader said. “I was really shocked.”
On Monday, Marlon was first in line to ask a question to Jones, who spoke to the students via video chat from his home in San Diego. Three classes of fifth-graders gathered in the gymnasium and watched on a big screen as Jones took questions for more than half an hour.
The virtual visit was arranged by music teacher Kim Schussler, who is a lifelong Orioles fan. She met Jones at a charity event and stayed in touch with him through social media. She asked if he would speak to her students and, to her surprise, he agreed.
“He was so easy to work with,” Schussler said. “He’s so humble and so laid back. He’s one of the most special people I’ve ever met.”
She and other teachers designed lessons around Jones’ talk, teaching the students how to research the center fielder’s career and develop questions.
Many of the questions revolved around how to become a professional athlete, to which Jones responded that it’s important to work hard, exercise and eat right.
“If you put your head down and work at it, why can’t you be in the major leagues?” he said.
Another student asked him how he responds to negative comments on social media.
“I just retweet it and let everyone see they’re being a moron,” Jones said, noting he’s been called all sorts of names. “You’re wasting your time calling me that. I don’t even know your name.”
Many of the students were fascinated by Jones’ tradition of celebrating wins by smashing pies in his teammates’ faces. He started out making pies with shaving cream, but now a local bakery delivers three pies to the stadium before games, he said.
“Instead of tasting shaving cream, you taste pie, and it tastes good,” Jones added, laughing.
Fifth-grader Gabriel Amankwa said he enjoyed getting to ask Jones a question.
“It was super cool. It was my first time talking to anyone famous,” he said. “He really inspired me to follow my dream of being a basketball player.”
Classmate Kayla Parks, who lifts weights and plays basketball, agreed.
“I really liked it when he said to stay active and that anybody in the room could be an athlete,” she said. “He seems to be a very humble guy, and you don’t see that a lot in celebrities.”
Orioles center fielder Adam Jones, appearing via video chat, answers a question from Jennie E. Smith Elementary School fifth-grader Caylee Riggi.
Kayla Parks, a fifth-grader at Jennie E. Smith Elementary School, approaches a web camera in order to ask a question to Orioles center fielder Adam Jones on Monday.
Students at Jennie E. Smith Elementary School hold signs greeting Orioles center fielder Adam Jones, who spoke to the students via video chat.