RIP Nick Adenhart: A Drunk Driver Shatters Yet Another Dream

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RIP Nick Adenhart: A Drunk Driver Shatters Yet Another Dream
(Photo by Stephen Dunn /Getty Images)

He was 22 years old. Let me repeat that, 22 years old.

This morning, April 9, 2009, Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart was suddenly and tragically murdered by a stupid drunk driver in California.

I use the word murdered because it's the truth. If the driver didn't want to commit such an awful crime than maybe he should have swallowed his pride for a night and called a buddy or taxi to take him home.

At this point almost everyone knows most of the details so I don't want to get too in depth because it is horribly sad and extremely depressing.

Adenhart was on top of the world last night after he held the Oakland A's scoreless through six innings. Although the Angels later lost the game, Adenhart pitched a tremendous game and proved to everyone that he did belong in the majors.

Last night should have been a night of elation for him as he realized all of his hard work had paid off. His parents I'm sure watched on with amazed and proud eyes as all parents do for their kids.

When someone strives for a dream their entire lives and they finally achieve it the emotion is something I am sure nobody can truly explain.

Adenhart may have indeed achieved his dream by making it to the majors, but the selfish man who drove through the red light, drunk, will always be the one who destroyed it. I hope he spends the rest of his life asking for forgiveness and uses his experience as a way to teach all people that drinking and driving doesn't just affect your life, it affects everyone's.

I am very sensitive to this topic because just nine years ago one of my great childhood friends and sports teammates was killed by a drunk driver. My friend was 15 years old, and unfortunately his mom and dad were also in the car. All three of them died.

My friend was holding on as the ambulance reached the hospital, but his parents were already dead at the scene of the accident. He had no idea that they had died because he was going in and out of consciousness. The paramedics were assuring him that his parents were right behind them.

Once they reached the hospital the doctors began looking at Ryan and it became apparent right away that he was not going to make it. He knew it. The doctors knew it. God knew it.

My good friend and teammate Ryan looked into the doctors' eyes and said, "Are my parents okay?" The doctors again assured him that his parents were alive and were going to make it. He told the doctors, "Tell them that I love them and I will always be with them and I will see them again."

Ryan passed away at 15, his parents died, and of course the drunk driver who hit them survived it all.

Where were my friend and his parents going? Oh, just to his sister's wedding. Can you imagine making that phone call? "Your brother, mom, and dad were just killed by a drunk driver. I'm sorry." 

Now, just imagine being Nick Adenhart's parents. They went to bed as proud as ever of their major league pitcher son, only to find out hours later that he was gone.

This hits me hard and I never met Adenhart, never talked to him, and never shook his hand. I only saw him pitch two or three times and hardly knew his name.

Now, I'll never forget his name.

I am sick and tired of these ignorant people who think "It will never happen to me."

What needs to happen for people to learn from other's mistakes? We see this far too often and it almost seems to be a habitual storyline in our news. Is it too hard to call for a cab? Is it too stressful to tell a buddy that you had too much to drink?

I know nothing about this drunk driving murderer, but I don't need to know anything about him to realize what a selfish act this was.

Please people: Kids, adults, and college students save a life by choosing not to drink and drive.

It is too late to save Nick Adenhart's life but it is not too late to make sure this sort of thing doesn't ever happen to you. We all love a good time but good times don't involve endangering other people.

Rest in peace, Nick. The fans will miss you.

To your parents, family, friends, and anyone else who knew you, keep living your dream. But instead of playing for a team whose jersey says "Angels," use your new wings in a place much better than we have down here.

God bless.

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