Rod Dixon loves baseball. Not just the sport and how the player develops in the game, but how the game helps develop the player. He launched Club Hustle Inc, a non-profit with the mission of opening the doors to competitive baseball to youth of all backgrounds. The Club now has eight baseball teams that service approx 100 boys and one girls’ softball team. His law firm, Dixon Davis LLC is here in Midtown so Midtown Lifestyle sat down to find out more about this unique project.
ML: Club Hustle is a unique and important project. How did it begin?
RD: I started the organization in Fall 2014. My son had just completed his first travel baseball season, and I started to understand the ins and outs of travel baseball. One big issue I saw was the cost associated with playing, and I realized kids and families were being priced out. This seemed especially true in South Fulton, where I live. I decided to create a team and subsidize the cost with donations from my Midtown law practice. It worked really well, and word began to spread about the organization. Obviously, the reduced cost was a factor in our growth. But, parents began to see our philosophy in dealing with the kids, which was to treat each kid with respect and dignity, while still pushing them to be the best player and person they can be. And others in the baseball community started to take notice that we had kids and coaches who played hard and with a respect for the game, officials and opponents. Word spread even more. Three years later, we looked up and had not one but eight teams.
ML: Your office, Dixon Davis, LLC, is in Midtown and you live in South Fulton. How is each community important to you?
RD: I have lived in South Fulton about 13 years for the lifestyle it offers. It’s suburban and, in some ways, rural, and I find that attractive. Plus, it’s a wonderfully diverse community, with a strong African-American population. I have worked in Midtown for about 19 years, and I can’t imagine having my office anywhere else. As much as I enjoy the laid-back environment of South Fulton, I also enjoy the vibrant nature of Midtown. I call it the best of both worlds.
ML: Our readers are generous with their time. How can readers help, volunteer or support youth of all backgrounds who play baseball with your club?
RD: This is an interesting question, and I will hit on three things. First, I’m a big believer in working for what you get. Just “asking” for money, with nothing in return, has never made me comfortable. The lifeblood of Club Hustle has been the financial resources I’ve been able to contribute through my law firm. So from that perspective, referrals to my personal injury practice Dixon Davis, LLC would be helpful. That’s obviously indirect. Second, if you’re looking for something more direct, I have to think about the future of the organization and what we will need to continue to serve these kids, and that’s means an indoor facility with a baseball field or two attached. We currently rent a place with no outdoor practice area. So we’re limited in what we can do. Finally, if anyone wants to help, I’d welcome a phone call for them to tell me how they can help, rather than my telling them. People have unique gifts and resources, and a reader may have a valuable suggestion that hasn’t even popped into my mind. Call us at 678.733.4055.
ML: Share a story of how Club Hustle has made a difference in the life of one of your young players.
RD: This is a difficult question to answer, in some ways. Immediately, we have a lot of kids playing with our teams, at a high level, with great uniforms, and indoor facility, and great coaches. And a lot of them would not be able to pay the full price ordinarily associated with the level of service we provide, including some of our kids who pay absolutely nothing. But we’re only three years in, and the difference we make in lives won’t be measured over these three years but over the next 10, as these kids enter adolescence, go through those teen years, and emerge on the other side as adults. Only then will we know that our hard work has paid off. While we hope all of the kids in our program become great baseball players, we are genuinely more concerned with them becoming good citizens. We preach teamwork, commitment, family, community, hard work and selflessness. It’s working so far.