A Fallen Halo: A Mortal Reminder

A Fallen Halo: A Mortal Reminder

We idolize them when we are younger, and place them on a pedestal as we age. We view them as some sort of demi-god, as if they were born from some celestial body. We wear their jerseys, desire their autographs, and teach our children about them through folklore. In more ways than one, we live vicariously through their play on the field.

It is so elementary to forget that athletes are human. We’ve grown so accustom to watching them in their natural, yet marvelous state. With the recent drug relapse of Angels’ outfielder, Josh Hamilton, it’s time that fans come to the reality – athletes are plagued with worldly problems too.

Hamilton has a forgoing history of substance abuse problems that date back to his first years in the MLB. Hamilton was the first pick in the 1999 draft by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. He signed a then-record $3.96 million bonus. The organization was high on Hamilton, and analysts were predicting him to be a future Hall of Famer. His first years in the minors were anything but stellar. He started hanging around tattoo parlors, which eventually led to him experimenting with drugs and alcohol. From 2001 to 2004, Hamilton was in and out of rehab, as was even suspended for testing positive for drugs such as cocaine and crack.

The next time baseball would see Hamilton was in 2007. After being used minimally by the Reds, Hamilton was traded to the Rangers. From 2008 to 2012, Hamilton would regain his once illustrious form that made him the #1 pick in 1999. In that span of time, Hamilton would be an MLB All-Star every year, even winning the AL MVP in 2010. He put up astronomical numbers every year with the Rangers, and it seemed that his past drug use was part of another life.

Hamilton was set to be a free-agent in 2013, and he used his previous success with the Rangers to cash in on a mega-deal. Hamilton agreed to a 5-year contract, worth $125 with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Life was good for Hamilton to say the least.

2013-2014 were not the seasons the former MVP was hoping for. He was injury-prone for both years, and his team would end up finishing third in their division in 2013. But like all players coming off a dismal seasons, Hamilton was optimistic that 2015 would bear more fruit.

Then February 26, 2015, reports came out that Hamilton suffered a relapse that involved cocaine and alcohol. Under his on freewill, Hamilton confessed his reversion to MLB officials. It is believed that he will banned for part of the 2015 season.

As an avid fan I was completely heartbroken. I grew up marveling at his majestic swing, even going as far to mimic it during my years playing college baseball. He was an inspiration – a man who walked by faith, and night by sight. Hamilton has always attributed his journey back to the Majors as a gift from God, and his book Beyond Belief, demonstrates how important his walk with Christ is.

It’s hard not to root for a guy that has a loving wife that he’s loyal to, kids that look up to him, and a fan base that he’s always been involved with. Many naysayers and villains will publicly come out to destroy Hamilton’s story. They’ll call him a hypocrite, and say that his story is fiction. Sure, it’s easy to beat a man while he’s down, but this gaffe doesn’t define him. If anything, this setback does nothing to discredit his testimony. It shows that he is in fact human. The real hypocrites are the ones who say they don’t have faults. We are all imperfect, including superstar athletes. We all deal with struggles, failures, and a reoccurring nature to deviate. What defines us is what we do when we fail and face adversity.

I leave you with a quote that we can all find strength in: “Life is a storm my young friend. You will bask in the sunlight one moment, be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes.” – Alexandre Dumas