"True happiness ... is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose."

-- Helen Keller

Off days are often a day to relax, watch a movie or hang out with family and friends. The most important thing is to use those days to physically get away from the game.

While in professional baseball your mind is never too far from the game (even in the off-season), so it is important to give your body a break. 142 games with bus rides of as long as 10 hours, 2-hour rain delays and a new hotel bed each week will wear you out.

Everyone has their own theory about off days. Watching movies, visiting a major city and enjoying a theme park are all common choices.

In the past, I've spent my off days hiking, visiting historical places or visiting family.

Last week, we were fortunate enough to use our off day to give back to the community of Greenville (S.C.).

The Greenville Drive set up multiple community service options for us to participate in.

A group of players and front office staff went to help with Meals on Wheels while the group I went with helped build a home as part of Habitat for Humanity.

The whole experience was a lot of fun and a very fulfilling one. The new owner of the house we were helping build was present and participating in the building process.

While it took us a while to wake up (8:30 a.m.) and warm up to the unfamiliar conditions, we ended up making a lot of progress building the floor to the home.

It was fun to put some of our non-baseball skills to work and help improve families in Greenville for years to come.

Whether it is helping feed those in our nation who go hungry each day or helping build a home for a family to be raised in, we all have the opportunity to improve the lives of those around us.

It can be a kind word, donating your time to a charity or just simply walking around with a smile on your face. We can all be a positive influence in the lives of those around us, but it will only occur with a conscious decision to do so.

McCarthy was promoted to high class-A Salem (Va.) Wednesday. He is a former CSUB pitcher now in the Boston Red Sox minor league system. His column appears here weekly.