Saturday, October 9, 2010

Baseball: my other life. Part II

October 8  
"Exile has helped me.  When, at some point in our lives, we meet a real tragedy - which could happen to any one of us - we can react in two ways.  Obviously, we can lose hope, let ourselves slip into discouragement, into alcohol , drug, and unending sadness.  Or else we can wake ourselves up, discover in ourselves an energy that was hidden there, and act with more clarity, more force."
From The Path to Tranquility: Daily Wisdom by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.  Complied and editedby Renuka Singh.

Tranquility by Dwight
Watching October baseball (and rooting for the Texas Rangers because they won the American League West, I like Ron Washington and his commitment to "playing the game right way", and Josh Hamilton, hopefully the American League MVP), I am drawn to share with you the latter's book, Beyond Baseball: Finding the Strength to Come Back with Tim Keown.

Several months ago I was walking through our local bookstore on my way to Main Street. 
I was drawn to a table with baseball books and my focus fell on Josh Hamilton's picture on the book noted above.  During baseball season I usually do not read baseball books, saving them for enjoyment during the "off" season.   Nolan Ryan says on the back cover, "Josh is one of the most talented baseball players I've ever seen, but his life experiences transcend baseball.  His ability to be one of the best players in the game after all he's been though is amazing and inspiring for everyone who knows his story."  I was hooked! making this book the exception.  Upon arriving home, I put Josh's book on "hold' at our local library system.  About a month later it arrived for my pickup and immediate consumption.

I am a sucker for happy endings.  And I know this book had a happy ending because I saw him in the 2009 Home Run Derby in fine form.  I found the book riveting, enlightening and tragic all at once.

Flowering Clarkia with Balls

Josh tells of meeting Clay Council, who was his pitcher in the 2009 Home Run Derby, at the age of 13.  Clay was 60ish and worked at the Raleigh-Durham airport spending "much of his free time helping kids.  He loved baseball more than anything in the world. . . I never felt as happy as I did when I was on the ball field and he looked like he felt the same way. . . .  After I got drafted, I saw Clay on the the field during a Legion game and I told him right there.  If I ever get asked to be in the Home Run Derby, I'm going to ask you to throw to me."  The first call Josh made after the call he received asking him if he wanted to participate in the 2009 Home Run Derby in Yankee Stadium was to Clay Council.  Watching the first round of the Derby was so exciting:  Clay threw, Josh hit home runs!

In this book Josh shares his visions, literally, of Light/good (God in his words) and Dark/evil (devil in Josh's paradigm), and his descent into darkness where consumption first of cocaine then crack became his addiction. His family saddened and despaired.  
With his maternal grandmother as a rudder, the Bible and God as a beacon, Josh manage to turn his back on drugs and once again embrace baseball, honoring God constantly.  
How this young man has touched the lives of many is joyous, as well as how he was befriended by his Texas Rangers team mates especially Hank Blalock, Ian Kinsler, Michael Young.  And for those of you who remember watching the 2009 Home Run Derby, Milton Bradley coming out during Josh's monstrous home run hitting to wipe his brow.  Josh relates that he had not had friends until he became a part of the this professional baseball team.

Joy with Dwight

So I am enjoying all the postseason baseball, especially Josh Hamilton, who amazed all the baseball pundits with his ability to play after his recent stint on the DL.  When we are whole/in tune with All, The Divine, God, our natural abilities seem to be honed in way that as singular individual humans we cannot even imagine.  As the Dalai Lama says,  " we can wake ourselves up, discover in ourselves an energy that was hidden there, and act with more clarity, more force."  To me, Josh Hamilton is a living, breathing human exemplar of this process.

Rose in her Hug-A-Dog Harness


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