Sep 4, 2008

Josh Hamilton 35th worst draft pick of all time?

School has started back up, and with school, essays. One of my classes this semester is called "Interdisciplinary Studies - Culture & Sports." One of our first assignments has been to write just a one-page essay on a sports hero, either current or past, and analyze their strengths and weaknesses. Being the avid baseball fan I am, I chose Josh Hamilton.

Before writing this paper, I had a headlines-deep knowledge about Josh: whatever has made the headlines (i.e., Hamilton sets record with 28 HRs in first round of Derby, Josh Hamilton: The Baseball Star's Rise to Recovery) is what I know. But after doing just a night's worth of research, I quickly realized he truly is a hero.

The title of my post refers to this:

This article, titled "The 100 worst draft picks ever", was written April 26, 2006. Apparently the author of this article didn't see much left in him. This was the year that Josh finally made it back to baseball, playing some games for a minor league Tampa Bay team near the end of the season.

If you don't know Josh's story, Wikipedia him. It's worth the read.

I think the most pleasing thing about his story is his humility. He knows that he could've never made it to where he is now without help from the Master Healer. Concerning his battle with drugs, he says this, "Alone, I couldn't win this battle. With Jesus, I couldn't lose."

We often hear people say "If only I could go back and do this over again." For Josh, that isn't an option. "This may sound crazy, but I wouldn't change a thing about my path to the big leagues...You see, I may not know how I got here from there, but every day I get a better understanding of why."

Let me just include one final story of his, which illustrates how Josh is trying to pay back all the help he was given:
I was driving out of the players' parking lot at Great American Ball Park after a game in May, with Katie and our two girls. There's always a group of fans standing at the curb, hoping to get autographs, and I stop to sign as many as I can.
And on this particular night, a little boy of about 9 or 10, wearing a Reds cap, handed me a pen and something to sign. Nothing unusual there, but as I was writing the boy said, "Josh, you're my savior."
This stopped me. I looked at him and said, "Well, thank you. Do you know who my savior is?"
He thought for a minute. I could see the gears turning. Finally, he smiled and blurted out, "Jesus Christ." He said it like he'd just come up with the answer to a test. "That's exactly right," I said.
Despite the many years of baseball that he has lost, I think it's safe to say he has found something far greater in his life than athletic heroics: a Savior.

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