How Tragedy Can Help Us Open Our Eyes

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How Tragedy Can Help Us Open Our Eyes
(Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

The recent death of Los Angeles Angels rookie pitcher Nick Adenhart in a car accident has enveloped the baseball world in insurmountable grief.

The suddenness of Adenhart’s unexpected death has forced the baseball world to step back and put some things in perspective just one week into the 2009 season. Not only did a promising baseball career come to a premature end, but a 22-year-old man was robbed of his life much too soon.

In recent years, fans, players, and the media have become increasingly consumed with the issue of steroids in baseball. However, taking into account recent events, what infuriated a good majority of the baseball world just mere months ago now seems unimportant.

When reports of Alex Rodriguez’s past steroid use surfaced, the masses became livid, enraged that yet another so-called legend had deceived them for so long.

Granted, A-Rod should not have used performance-enhancing drugs and then lied about it repeatedly, and he deserves a lot of the criticism he has encountered.

But at the end of the day, Rodriguez is a human being (believe it or not) and like most of us, he has made his share of mistakes, using steroids among them.

Additionally, Barry Bonds has come under even more fire than A-Rod for his use of performance-enhancing drugs because of his larger impact on the record books.

Admittedly, Bonds was wrong to cheat and the fact that he isn’t too nice of a guy, doesn’t help much either. But Bonds tampered with history and statistics, not other lives.

Although the criticism they, along with many others, have been subjected to is reasonable, Rodriguez and Bonds have been on the receiving end of some pretty brutal negativity.

Many will argue that these men lack integrity and they have brought shame and embarrassment to the game of baseball. Yet, no matter how despicable their actions appear, humanity is capable of much worse than taking steroids or acting like a jerk.

Andrew Thomas Gallo embodied that dangerous potential last week by running a red light and striking Adenhart’s vehicle, killing three and seriously injuring a fourth. In addition, Gallo was driving with a license suspended because of a previous DUI.

Granted, while using performance-enhancing drugs is an ugly blemish on the face of baseball that needs to be addressed, there are issues far more serious than those in sports.

Sometimes, we need to take a deep breath, calm down, and realize that as great as sports are, they are just a game. Whether you are a Lions fan or a Patriots fan, a Pirates fan or a Red Sox fan, life does not begin and end with each game.

So what if Shaquille O’Neal is “tweeting” at halftime or Chad Ocho Cinco decides to legally change his last name?

Sports are meant to be fun and relaxing, not a life and death struggle against your opponent.

Preaching morality and ethics is not my intention. Mainly, my point is that we should take a look at a situation before passing judgment. We shouldn’t be so quick to point our finger and to condemn the actions of others, especially in sports.

While the sports world has its fair share of problems, there are many more issues in the world—both sports and non-sports related—that are far more serious.

So, whenever the bullpen blows a late-inning lead or a receiver drops the game-winning touchdown pass, it’s okay to be upset, but dwelling on the issue is not going to make things any better.

Things could be much worse and we should be thankful we have our sports teams to lose ourselves in. Besides, tomorrow brings a new day and another shot at victory.

Life has both its ups and its downs. Luckily for many of us, a lot of the downs can be attributed to sports and are not as tragic as Adenhart’s death.

In the words of former Secretary of State Colin Powell, “Get mad, then get over it.”


Rest in Peace: Nick Adenhart, Harry Kalas, Mark Fidrych

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