Tuesday, August 11, 2009

"It's not the end of the world"

This past weekend, pictures came out of Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton drunk at a bar in Arizona this past January. For people that don’t know of Josh Hamilton and his past, this doesn’t seem like much of a story. For people that do know the story behind Josh Hamilton, this is a shocker.

I could go on for many hours about Hamilton and his story. For the people that don’t know about him, I’ll give a quick background on his journey.

Hamilton was the #1 draft pick in the country coming out of high school in 1999 by the Tampa Bay Rays. Unfortunately, he fell victim to drugs and alcohol which caused him to be out of baseball for four years. Fortunately, he got his life together and worked his way back into professional baseball. In 2007 he made his major league baseball debut. His story is a very inspirational one.

Needless to say, I was shocked when I saw the pictures of what had happened in that bar back in January. I would even go so far as to use the word “disappointed”. But then I saw him addressing the situation after a game on television and I felt a little better.

"Obviously I'm embarrassed about it personally," Hamilton said before Saturday's game with the Angels. "For the Rangers, I'm embarrassed about it and for my wife [Katie] and my kids. Obviously it was one those things that reinforce that I can't have alcohol."
“I feel like I've been humbled," Hamilton said. "It is what it is. I got away from the one thing that kept me on the straight and narrow and that was my relationship with the Lord. That should always come first. Hopefully some good will come out of this. "Maybe this will show people that if they are recovering and make a mistake, it's not the end of the world. You can get back on the right track. Hopefully I can use God's glory to show that I do have struggles. This just lets me know that I need Christ more than ever."

I had to wonder why this story was newsworthy. Is it because he is the first baseball player to get drunk in a bar? No, not by a long shot. I’ve been out to bars with professional baseball players (current and ex players) that have done it many times. Is it because he had other women hanging all over him that weren’t his wife? Don’t be ridiculous. I’ve seen that happen many times as well. Is it because he embarrassed the Texas Rangers by his actions? No, this happened in January and he called his wife, the Rangers, and Major League Baseball the next morning and explained what he had done.

In my mind, the reason why this story is news-worthy is because Hamilton is a devout Christian and, because of what he does for a living, he is in the national spotlight. Many people have wanted to slam him and his religion because he messed up. Hamilton has already stated in the past that if he ever slipped up, the entire country would know about it and people would label him a hypocrite.

I wouldn’t label him a hypocrite. I’d label him as normal. He’s just like the rest of us. We all have to deal with addictions of some sort. If we are trying to lose weight, we will try to stop eating foods and drinks that are not good for us. Those “bad” foods can be addicting, especially if we’ve had a bad day. They relieve stress. There are many other types of addictions that we could be dealing with. Cigarettes, caffeine, porn, spending money frivolously, and many more things; they could all be labeled as addictions.

Even though Josh Hamilton made a mistake, I still admire him for what he has done. Hamilton could have easily said that those pictures were fakes and that somebody photo shopped his likeness into it. But he didn’t. He immediately called the people in his support system and confessed. Once the news got out in the public, then he addressed it with the media very honestly.

It is very refreshing to see a baseball player address a controversial subject in a mature matter. Many ball players could take a lesson from Hamilton on handling situations when they’ve done something wrong (STEROIDS). I’m not going to name names, but they know who they are.

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