CARS HOMES JOBS
Andy Burke is a sophomore at Christian Brothers Academy

Lessons to be learned from athlete’s struggles

Wednesday, May 9, 2012
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Josh Hamilton is seen as one of the best players in major league baseball.

He was the first overall pick in the 1999 Major League Baseball Draft. He is a three-time all-star outfielder for one of the most competitive teams in baseball, the Texas Rangers. He hit a record 28 home runs in the 2008 Home Run Derby; he won the American League batting title, American League Championship Series MVP and the American League MVP award, all in 2010, and has enough skill to win another in each category.

It seems that he has it all. That is, from the outside it seems like he has it all. However, for the people who know Hamilton on the inside, they know that he took a rough road on his way to the top, struggling mightily along the way.

After being chosen first overall by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Hamilton was an up and coming star. However, in 2001, Hamilton and his parents were in a car accident. His parents received injuries, but recovered from them. It took longer for Hamilton to recover, and during this time he became addicted to drugs and alcohol.

He began rehab in 2001 and barely had any time to play baseball, only participating in 45 games for a minor league team. For the next few years his ongoing struggles with drugs and alcohol kept occurring. In 2004, he was suspended for 30 days and fined by the MLB after failing numerous drug tests.

This began a two-year stint where Hamilton did not play baseball whatsoever. Many thought this was the end of the road for Hamilton, who would soon develop struggles with depression. However, Hamilton wanted to keep playing, and he looked for help.

In 2005, Hamilton decided to give up drugs and alcohol. He was sober until 2009, when photos surfaced of him in a bar with alcohol. After this incident, Hamilton addressed the situation and said that he would become more religious after this incident and that it will not happen again.

Hamilton showed extreme courage during this rough patch in his life, and I feel that he is a great role model. For the next few years, Hamilton recuperated from his incidents and moved on.

That is, until July 7, 2011. Hamilton tossed a foul ball into the stands during a home game. A fan, Shannon Stone, reached over the railing to catch the ball. Stone fell 20 feet to a concrete surface below and died. Hamilton was extremely distraught, but showed great perseverance and fought through the hard times.

Hamilton’s story is one for everyone to hear, sharing a great lesson that can help anyone in need. Through all of this, Hamilton stayed strong, kept his head held high and was the best person he could be, and I feel that those ways are very important to live by.

 
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