Long ago I discovered something about being a dad: there comes a time where your kids who had thought of you as Superman come to discover you’re much closer to Clark Kent.
So it is as a dad. And so it sometimes is for others admired by our kids.
As a product of the 60’s and 70’s I looked up to Tom Landry and Roger Staubach.
I’m sure they weren’t perfect. I know they weren’t.
As my twin boys began to admire sports stars (30 years after my Roger Dodger days) I grew concerned.
Times are different. Temptations are different. Kids are different. Heck, dads are different.
Just as we don’t think any young suitor is good enough for our daughters, I wonder who is worthy of our sons’ admiration.
Let me first say what a gentleman and gentle man Josh Hamilton has been in every encounter I have had with him.
The few times I have been in his presence, he has been great to give his time to youngsters and my boys and I have benefitted from that. I am grateful and admiring of his ability to be accessible to young fans and try to present himself as a positive role model to them.
Let me also say that he is a Christian brother who is deserving of our love and prayers and support.
Addiction is a demon and it’s not one that is tamed. Ask any addict.
Drugs and alcohol are an evil mistress. Seductive and strong. Unforgiving. Ravenous.
Finally, Josh Hamilton owes me no personal explanation for anything he’s done.
With all that said, let me now tell you how troubled I am by recent events.
I find his explanation of his latest ‘relapse’ implausible at best.
The thought that at least two separate servers delivered a total of perhaps 12 or more drinks at two separate locations over a period of several hours, in the city where he plays baseball and is known for needing to avoid alcohol and drugs, without anyone seeing…without anyone snapping a photo…strains credulity.
In short, I don’t believe it.
Something happened and it probably wasn’t at all good. And it isn’t a few drinks.
If you watched his press conference (where no questions were allowed) there was one moment in this unscripted narrative that I’m sure the Rangers front office wish they could have back. It is the most important part of the press conference…or will become so if there’s more news in the days ahead.
It’s when Josh Hamilton said this:
But any time I drink, there’s a point that comes where a switch flips and you never know when that point’s going to be reached, whether it’s the first three or four, or the 15th. And that’s what’s so dangerous about it.
So, anyway … things happened that me personally I’m not proud of after I drank, and they are personal and are being handled as that.
Um…this is not good. Working without a script when you have a reason to be careful about what you say is a very dangerous thing.
Professionals in sports are not usually also professionals in communication. And risking off-the-cuff descriptions by holding an unscripted event is just…well…risky behavior.
I write this now before any more information comes out (if it ever does) because if there is more to come, it will be unseemly to write it then.
With only one exception, I have never been comfortable holding a sports figure up to my sons as worthy of admiration. I imagined the disappointment if things should go terribly wrong because of choices made by a hero.
Perhaps I have been too protective in that regard, but it’s always been because of one universal truth: we’re all flawed.
If there is a lesson in all of this Josh Hamilton thing it is this: kids, stay away from alcohol and drugs.
While alcohol and drugs and addiction can open doors to bad behavior, you are the one who walks through that door. And you alone are responsible for your actions.
Alcohol can lead to problems, for sure. But alcohol can also become an easy excuse to embrace our all-too-dark nature.
Those demons are not likely to say, “Drink a lot. Nothing bad will happen.” Rather, they whisper, “Just a little can’t hurt. All things in moderation.”
Whatever choices Josh Hamilton has made will impact him, his family, his career, and his reputation.
I don’t know what will be revealed in the days to come regarding all of this, but I can tell you that whatever it is, Josh Hamilton and his family need our prayers.
Say a prayer for the young fans, too.
It’s tough when you think people are Superman.
Because we’re all Clark Kent.
Ask any sports superstar…
Or any dad.