Spring 2021 Magazine

Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw: 'Being a dad is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me'

A seven-time All-Star, three-time Cy Young Award winner and 2014 National League MVP, Clayton Kershaw is one of the best pitchers to ever play the game. He has a career 2.42 ERA to go with 2,342 strikeouts in 2,168.1 innings. So far in 2019, he’s 6-1 with a 3.13 ERA for the NL West-leading Dodgers.

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He’s not as dominant in “Dad Life” — at least that was the case in one particular trip to the grocery store with his two young kids, Cali and Charley. On his own, without his wife, Ellen.

Kershaw recounted the story in a piece he wrote for The Players’ Tribune, but he went on to detail all the ways he loves being a father, just in time for Father’s Day on Sunday.

“Being a dad is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me,” Kershaw wrote. “My children have changed my life for the better in so many ways. But before Cali and Charley arrived, if I’m being completely honest, I have to say that I didn’t know how it was all going to work out.”

Ellen wasn’t as concerned, and Clayton soon discovered she was right.

“We did figure it all out. And it absolutely has been great. Beyond great, really. In fact, I truly believe that it’s actually been a massive positive for me to have kids while in the middle of my baseball career because it’s allowed me to put everything into perspective.”

Instead of dwelling on poor performances or things he needs to work on, he now spends his time at home playing with his kids. Kershaw knows his daughter’s strict bedtime routine — “You must sing her two songs (and it’s almost always the same two: Twinkle Twinkle and Jesus Loves Me)” — and he knows his son’s favorite movie — “He’s two. And he already loves The Sandlot.”

“When I’m able to be home with them and we can all laugh and play together, my heart just fills up,” Kershaw said. “And when I have to be away from them for a bit, there’s literally no better feeling than coming home from a road trip, opening the front door, and having two little ones sprint over to hug me with all their might. It’s just pure love.”

Both Clayton and Ellen prioritize family as part of their walk with Christ, and they shared their faith story with Sports Spectrum last year:

They run a non-profit organization called Kershaw’s Challenge, which is “a faith-based, others-focused organization” whose goal is “to encourage people to use whatever God-given passion or talent they have to make a difference and give back to people in need.”

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