Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Devil Can Lose if You're Willing to Fight

I keep reading people's comments across the country on how Josh Hamilton does not deserve the press coverage he receives, that it isn't fair to give it to him instead of a guy who never did drugs. It is depressing to me that people can be so far deep in their little holes that they can't see what a great story this is, a story about the wonder and miracle of existence. It's about life, people - not baseball, not drugs, but LIFE. I can't imagine that some people's lives are so dull that they don't feel the need to reflect upon it, marvel at it, appreciate how incomprehensively amazing it is. How sad.

Anyone with a soul has to be rooting for Hamilton. Josh's story is not just about drug addiction. It is about second chances, redemption - one of the best parts of life. You can screw up and screw up and screw up, but if you survive your screw ups, you can always come back. This is a country that goes up in arms when it thinks Christianity is "under attack," yet it fails to understand the very basic concepts of what it supposedly believes in. It is reflected in how much money we spend on prisons instead of schools, in how hate-filled radio talk shows are so popular, and how our political campaigns are run.

There is this mental block in some people when they hear the word "drug" that blinds them to the big picture, brings out their intolerance, and shows their ignorance about addiction. Like this guy, who has the maturity to call Hamilton a crackhead on Trent's blog:'s kind of sad the media keeps crowning Josh and treating him like he's some sort of hero while other players who were clean to begin with and worked just as hard to get where they are, get nothing.
First of all, did I just make up all the stories I thought I read about Griffey, Dunn, Conine, Gonzalez, Harang, Arroyo, etc, etc? Others get nothing? Dude, pick up a newspaper some time.

Secondly, people like the above commenter who fail to see how effective these stories are have obviously never had a close friend or family member with an addiction. They like to pretend from their couches that they have some sort of control over the circumstances of life, that it was their choice as 18 year olds to not have fat bank accounts and fame that is ripe for trouble, that it can't happen to them, whether they be the drug users or someone close to them. I'm willing to bet some of these people even call themselves "Christians," though they fail to understand the reason for Christianity's existence: redemption. Those who think they have no need for redemption, that just because they were lucky enough to escape the naivety of youth without too much damage, need to look at themselves in the mirror and stare straight at their imperfections. Too many in this country - in this world - think they can do no wrong.

Despite proof addiction is a disease by people who are experts - and actually know something about it! - there are still people out there who continue to blame addicts for their problem. Is it someone's fault that they start? Sometimes. But sometimes that is how life is for people. Another comment from Trent's blog:
Currently showing The Natural to my class at the moment in honor of Josh Hamilton. I teach a group of boys who are locked up for mostly drug problems. I print out the Reds articles everyday. The group has been following Josh with great interest.
That's just awesome. Of course, people like the first guy would just blame the kids for getting locked up in the first place. Nevermind that they grew up in broken homes, went to shitty schools, and were surrounded by a culture where that kind of behavior is the norm.

Was Josh raised in that culture? No. But the evidence is that he was a pretty sheltered boy raised by overprotective parents. All of the sudden he's an 18 year old with a million dollar bank account and finds himself on his own and in with the wrong crowd. Quit demonizing him for it.

Regardless of what kind of adversity he's overcome, the guy is a role model for people like those kids who seek a second chance at life, no matter what adversity they are trying to overcome. Athletes are revered - probably unjustifiably - in this country, and Josh is in a unique position to make a difference in people's lives. The story shouldn't go away. It's as if Josh stole his soul back from Mephistopheles.

Obviously I'm not a sports hater since I run a blog dedicated to baseball. But clearly there are people in this country who think that sports are important, that sports matter in the grand scheme of this thing we know as life. They don't. There are much bigger issues out there, and I can't understand how people can be so apathetic as to not realize it, to not reflect upon life, and to not be grateful for its miracle. I feel sorry for these people, I really do. They miss out on so much beauty in the world.

There was no other way for him to get his first Major League hit, that's for sure.

Here are some Josh Hamilton stories today. If you are sick of Hamilton stories, don't read them.
Redleg Nation
Trent's article

Another note: I know I used an example from Trent's blog on Hamilton, but I'm just using it as an example. I've seen comments all over baseball cyberspace, but unfortunately I used my entire lunch hour writing this and don't have any more time to look up other examples!

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