Mets' Daniel Murphy visits Long Beach students

Daniel Murphy greets Long Beach students during a Daniel Murphy greets Long Beach students during a guest appearance at Long Beach Middle School. (Jan. 17, 2013) Photo Credit: James Escher

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Daniel Murphy has a goal for the upcoming season that has nothing to do with his performance on the field. The Mets' second baseman is determined to take greater advantage of opportunities to do community work.

With that in mind, Murphy was at the Long Beach Middle School on Thursday morning to meet with a group of students. The event was part of the Student Athlete Leadership Conference Series, which the Mets have presented for the past 17 years.

Murphy spoke with 100 fifth-graders and a group of high school student-athletes who serve as mentors.

"I want to take more opportunities like this," Murphy said. "Right now in the offseason, we're all excited and we're very fresh and it's very easy to take these opportunities. But I want to be able to do stuff like this during the season as well. That's the opportunity that we have and the platform that we're given, and that's going to go far beyond baseball ever does."

Long Beach is one of many local communities that was devastated by Hurricane Sandy in late October. There was similar destruction in Far Rockaway, Queens, where Murphy helped with relief efforts at the Church of the Nazarene on Wednesday.

Murphy didn't fully grasp the devastation until he returned from his Jacksonville, Fla., home earlier this week. Now that he's seen it, he's aware that the area needs extensive support.

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"I think one of the big lessons to take from this is to know that we're a couple months out and there's work that needs to be done and there still needs to be awareness," Murphy said. "I think that will be the same case when we get back here in April through September. There's still going to be opportunities to bring awareness and help out with these situations."

There was no evidence of the difficulties of the past three months from the children, who enthusiastically peppered Murphy with questions.

"Kids are awesome because they're ever-unfazed," Murphy said. "During the season when I'm able to have opportunities to do this, I end up leaving more encouraged. To see the energy they bring and how excited they are and how they've responded and persevered, it's humbling."

Murphy was impressed by the students' perseverance and encouraged them to stay the course.

"I tried to impart on them to lean on family and friends," Murphy said. "That's when they become the biggest. And without going into it too deep, know that there is a bit of a higher power that is always there to lean on. But you don't want to use this as a platform to preach. Hopefully I was able to help in this situation."

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