Sunday, December 13, 2009

Lead Us Not Into Temptation - Please



At one time I worked with a man who had been a big league pitcher. For the few years he was in the game, he had accumulated a very impressive record. With two World Series rings to his credit, the future looked bright, until one night his arm gave out in the middle of an inning. This was before the days of “Tommy John” surgery, and while he made a few more starts, his career was over.
During his time in baseball, he had acquired a heavy drinking habit. When I knew him he was deeply into a process which he will need to continue for the rest of his life: recovery.
He talked freely about his illness. At one point I asked him how he had started his drinking career. His story is that starting professional baseball players are often kids not long out of high school. They are away from home for weeks and months at a time, have lots of money in their pockets, and lots of time on their hands. On the road they stay in hotels which have bars; sensing money, young women are easily available. My friend was into the bar scene – the women, not so much.
All of this is no excuse for giving in to temptation, but it does make it somewhat understandable. Although my friend didn’t get a second chance in baseball, he did take advantage of his chance to make amends. I applaud him for that.
For “baseball” substitute “golf,” and for my anonymous coworker substitute “Tiger Woods.” Time will tell if he will pull himself out of the rough. Let us give him the chance to try.

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